The Experience Grand Rapids board of directors elected new officers and members to lead the organization for the next two years.
Dr. Floyd Wilson Jr., chief development officer for Pinnacle Construction Group Inc., was elected to serve as the board chair. Jenifer Cutter, regional general manager at AHC Hospitality, was elected as vice chair of the board. Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Chamber, will serve as secretary and treasurer.
Three members were elected by the 33-member board, and they were ratified by the full membership of the organization. The new members are Kyle Holst of Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Grand Rapids, Grant Hirst of Embassy Suites Downtown Grand Rapids and Suresh Patel of GR Hospitality Inc.
Experience Grand Rapids focuses on marketing Grand Rapids and Kent County to individuals, groups and organizations nationwide as a tourist destination. The pandemic severely impacted the West Michigan tourism and hospitality industry. The region’s hotel occupancy hit historic lows in 2020, averaging about 38% for the year. Its lowest point was in April 2020, when it dipped to 18%.
“As we begin to rebuild the convention and tourism industry in West Michigan in 2021, we will also be rebuilding our regional economy; they go hand in hand,” Experience Grand Rapids President and CEO Doug Small said. “We are so fortunate to have Floyd’s strong leadership and that of a tremendously committed board. Together, we’ll get the job done for our community.”
Experience Grand Rapids also changed its Diversity Advisory Committee, expanding it to include nonboard members. The committee addresses inclusion, opportunity and engagement in the hospitality and tourism industry.
“We are working alongside other community organizations and initiatives to elevate the voices and perspectives of our diverse community,” said Dr. Paul Stansbie, DAC chair. “Members will assist in developing strategies and tactics that enable us to promote a more welcoming and inclusive destination for every first-time or returning visitor.”
Members of the DAC include:
- Paul Stansbie, DAC Chair, EXGR board member; Grand Valley State University
- Shaquille Anthony, Spectrum Health
- Art Johnson, Independent Consultant
- Joe Jones, EXGR board member; city of Grand Rapids commissioner
- Kavy Lennon, Meijer
- Two Eagles Marcus, Women’s Lifestyle Magazine and MPWRD Business Magazine
- Garrisen Miller, Spectrum Health
- Mark Saint Amour, Grand Valley State University
- Andrew Sims, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council
- Stacy Stout, city of Grand Rapids
- Andrea Wallace, Fourtifeye
- Floyd Wilson Jr., EXGR board chair; Pinnacle Construction
- Cameron Young, Behler-Young Company
- Emilio R. Zamarripa, Steepletown Neighborhood Services