2019 Speaker Information (updated 9/30/19)

Keynote Speaker: Andrew Davis

Triumphs, Anomalies, and Myths: How daring destinations use simple stories to attract visitors from around the world.

We're good at marketing Alaska's attractions, virtues, and values. We create compelling imagery, poetic prose, and produce impressive videos all designed to inspire others to visit. But what story are we telling?

It turns out some of the most successful destinations in the world leverage the prophetic power of origin stories and legends to transform their economies. They target a specific audience, understand their passions, and craft a simple tale designed to elicit an emotion. Why? Because emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions.

In this exhilarating hour-long keynote presentation, former television producer and marketing agency executive Andrew Davis will show you how others have built flourishing economies by telling their story. You'll learn how visionaries have transformed entire cities and how origin stories create a powerful sense of place. He'll challenge you to change the way you describe your Alaskan city or town and why your legends will determine your future.

What's your story, and who does it serve?

Andrew Davis is a bestselling author and internationally acclaimed keynote speaker. Before building and selling a thriving digital marketing agency, Andrew produced for NBC’s Today Show, worked for The Muppets in New York and wrote for Charles Kuralt. He's appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and on NBC and the BBC. Davis has crafted documentary films and award-winning content for tiny start-ups and Fortune 500 brands.

Recognized as one of the industry's "Jaw-Dropping Marketing Speakers," Andrew is a mainstay on global marketing influencer lists. Wherever he goes, Andrew Davis puts his infectious enthusiasm and magnetic speaking style to good use teaching business leaders how to grow their businesses, transform their cities, and leave their legacy.

Andrew will also lead a concurrent session on October 8 at 2:00 PM.


Panels and Sessions:

October 8

Women Leaders in Tourism Panel Discussion

On March 8 of this year, events around the world celebrated International Women’s Day. On that day, global groups also celebrated women travelers and travel businesses that support women. While now it’s October, this panel discussion continues to shine a light on issues and topics relevant to women in the travel industry. We will hear from women leaders representing different aspects of the travel industry of their experiences that have shaped their lives and careers. From this dialogue, we hope to motivate and inspire women in Alaska to continue their work and professional development right here at home.


Moderator: Linda Springmann, Holland America 

Nan Marchand Beauvois, U.S. Travel Association – Prior to joining U.S. Travel, Marchand Beauvois was the executive director of the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau, where she worked to brand the city as a year-round business and leisure destination, beyond the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, in the competitive Los Angeles market. She concurrently led an aggressive sales program for the city’s expanding convention center. Marchand Beauvois has lent her skills to industry associations and has served as a member of U.S. Travel’s IPW Planning Committee, the California Travel & Tourism Commission International Marketing Advisory Committee, the National Tour Associations Marketing Committee, the TTRA board, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board Marketing Committee. She was also a long-term board member of CalTravel, where she served as chair in 2000-01, and was recently recognized as one of Successful Meetings’ 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry.

Colleen Stephens, Stan Stephens Cruises & Tours – Colleen Stephens began her life in the tourism industry as the chief hot cocoa stirrer at the “experienced” age of 7 working along side her parents, Stan and Mary Helen Stephens as they shared the glaciers and wildlife of Prince William Sound with guests. As time progressed on, Colleen’s role in the company changed and she began spending a good deal of time working to promote the wild resources that all of Alaska has to share. She has served on numerous local, regional and statewide organizations including the Board of Directors of the Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau, Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association, and is currently the Government Relations Chair of the Alaska Travel Industry Association and the past Chair of the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board.

Patti Mackey, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau – Patti Mackey is the President and CEO of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and has directed the organization’s operations and destination marketing strategies for twenty-two years. Mackey is past chair and one of three Southeast Alaska representatives to the Alaska Travel Industry Association board and past president of the Southeast Alaska Tourism Council. In March 2017, Patti was appointed to the tourism seat of the Marine Transportation Advisory board by Governor Bill Walker. Patti was born in Ketchikan and has lived in the community for 35 years. She has been actively involved in many local organizations and is past president of the board of the Ketchikan Medical Center Foundation. 

Serene Hutchinson, Juneau Tours & Whale Watching –As Juneau Tours and Whale Watch General Manager, Serene Hutchinson is responsible for day to day operations, marketing and sales. During her eight-year tenure with the company, Juneau Tours and Whale Watch experienced significant growth (we love social media!). Currently, the company runs 9 boats, 30 buses and a year-round shop for service on marine and diesel fleets, employs 80+ staff members and serves close to 100,000 guests every summer. She spends her off-season going to travel shows and conventions as well as recruiting staff to add to her ever growing team. A proud member of Travel Juneau and Whale Sense Alaska, Serene – along with her brother Sky Bonnell who owns the company - love calling Juneau home. Highlights of the job/summer: offering visitors a front-row seat to the best whale watching on the planet, working with a fantastic group of people and playing host to thousands of visitors.

Camille Ferguson, Sitka Tribe of Alaska – Camille L. Ferguson is the Economic Development Director for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska where she is responsible for developing new projects as well as overseeing the Tribe’s tourism program, gaming operations, the Tribal tannery and the Community House Convention Facility. Previously, she served as Executive Director of AIANTA for more than six years. Under her direction, AIANTA expanded its international marketing and outreach program and also grew its training programs; improved its public outreach program, broadened its public lands partnership program and was instrumental in gaining support for the passage of the NATIVE Act along with the advocacy needed to support the appropriation to implement the unfunded mandate. Ferguson, a citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a member of the Kiksadi Clan, continues to serve on AIANTA as the At-Large Representative, the National Advisory Committee on Transportation Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI), and the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors, where she is only the second-ever Native American to serve on that board. She is a former recipient of ATIA’s Denali Award for leadership and professional excellence.

The Loyalty Loop: How small things add up to big business

We spend much of our time telling our prospective guests and visitors how different we are. But conduct an online search for a hotel, attraction, or destination anywhere in the world, and you'll quickly find that you and our competitors all sound the same. It's time we quit telling people we're different. Start showing them we're different. How? Let's leverage the guests you've got to attract the guests you want. Are you ready to embrace the Loyalty Loop?


Convention Keynote Speaker Andrew Davis, author and former agency executive


Public Lands Update

Alaska’s tourism providers rely on access to public lands across the state. Join representatives from the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service to learn more on how land management agencies are working collaboratively with the tourism industry to promote access to public lands.


Jerry Ingersoll, Deputy Alaska Regional Forester, U.S. Forest Service – Jerry Ingersoll is the Deputy Regional Forester for the Alaska Region, where he helps oversee the management of more than 22 million acres of National Forest System lands in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. He works closely with the region’s diverse stakeholders, tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, and communities of interest. His focus is on the Regional priorities of active management and public service. Jerry has served with the USDA Forest Service for 32 years. Jerry joined the Forest Service on the Ouachita National Forest in Arkansas. He’s since served in Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC, working in planning, forestry and recreation management, including five years in Ketchikan as the District Ranger. Before his current position, he was the Forest Supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest, a temperate rainforest located on the central Oregon Coast.

Don Striker, Acting Director, National Park Service, Alaska Region – Don Striker is the Superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve and the Acting Director for the National Park Service, Alaska Region. Since 2013, Don has provided leadership in all areas of Denali's park management, overseeing a annual budget of mroe than $20 million and a staf of more than 230 direct reports and 500 contract employees. Prior to serving at Denali, Don served as superintendent of New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Fort Clatsop National Memorial in Oregon.


Developing New Tours

Want to become a tour operator or develop a new tour to grow your business? Come listen to expert tour operators present the logistics around creating new tours; from whether or not it’s a good idea and logistics for business development and/or growth to marketing experiments and operations. The panel will present their business wins and when they needed to cut losses.


Joe Ordonez, Rainbow Glacier Adventures – Joe Ordonez headed straight to Alaska after graduating with a degree in environmental education from Western Washington University in 1983. Since that time, he has worked on expedition cruise ships as a naturalist, cruise director and expedition leader, and led wilderness rafting trips in Glacier Bay National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 1992, Joe founded Rainbow Glacier Adventures in Haines, Alaska. He has developed dozens of tours, some more successful than others! Currently, Rainbow Glacier Adventures is a mature and respected tour company that services cruise ship passengers, independent travelers and elite travel clientele.


Midgi Moore, Juneau Food Tours – Midgi is the owner and Chief Eating Officer for Juneau Food Tours and Alaska Culinary Experiences. She is a food writer and blogger and has worked diligently to tell Alaska’s food story, particularly in Juneau. Her company, Juneau Food Tours, opened in 2015 and has hosted thousands of hungry visitors in Alaska’s capital city. She serves on the Advisory Board for the World Food Travel Association, and locally as Vice President on the Juneau Downtown Business Association. Midgi is a passionate advocate for the food travel and visitor industries and works closely with the media to tell Alaska’s tasty stories.

Mandy Garcia, Salmon Berry Travel and Tours - 


Harnessing the Power of Information to Improve Your Marketing

ATIA and its partners obtain valuable data, which is translated in order to deliver the most engaging message to Alaska’s target visitor audience. Learn about the various types of data, how it’s collected and how it’s used to grow tourism in the Last Frontier. You will be able to take the points discussed in this session with you to put to work for your business in marketing, advertising, public relations and social media!


Julie Hirt, Spawn Ideas -  Julie Hirt is the Director for Account Management at Spawn Ideas. Julie migrated to Alaska from Wisconsin in 2015 with 20 years of marketing communications experience. She has worked both agency and client side, and specializes in brand strategy, marketing planning and cross-cultural communication.


Kailee Wallis, Thompson & Co - Kailee Wallis is the community brand manager at T&C. She works on multiple accounts at the agency and specializes in social media strategy, as well as designing on-brand graphics for clients, defining a brand’s style and tone on social media and creating audiences for clients. As the designated social media queen, Kailee is also creative mastermind behind T&C’s social media accounts.  


October 9

Indigenous Tourism: Culture, Heritage, and Tradition


Moderated by: M ario Fulmer, Alaska Native Voices - Mario Fulmer is from the Tlingit tribe of Southeast, Alaska. He has family ties to the Village of Hoonah and spent his childhood in Ketchikan. His Tlingit name is Kaa L'ee and he is from the T'akdeintaan (Raven clan from the outercoast) and from the Xúna Kaawu with ancestral ties to the Tlingit of Glacier Bay. He is the Visitor Programs Manager for Alaska Natiev Voices Educational Institue [NPO] and Alaska Native Voices LLC . Both organizations focus on indigenous tourism and interpretive guiding on land and on marine based onboard cruise ships and tours vessels. The organizations were established through the ANCSA Village Corporation, Huna Totem Corporation. Over the years he has performed with different Tlingit dance troupes and multi-cultural Alaska Native dance troupes: Yees Ku Oo, ANCHA (Alaska Native Cultural Heritage Association), Lingit Kusti, Kuteeya, Mt. Fairweather Dancers, Haandei I Jin, etc. As a tourism professional he beleives that representing our indigenous cultures with integrity, knowledge, strength, thoughtfulness, empathy, patience, and determination are a few ways that we can understand our past, acknowledge the present, and perpetuate our cultures into the future.  

Stacey Simmons, Kodiak Brown Bear Center 

Ruby Steele, Alaska Native Heritage Center

Emily Edenshaw, Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska

Johan Dybdahl, Icy Strait Point

Rachel Moreno, AIANTA




Bobbie Maszaros, Sealaska Heritage Institute


Community and a sense of place – including tourism considerations in community planning

Tourism is about a sense of place – but what happens when places become more popular? Community planners will join tourism industry insiders to talk about engaging the industry in shaping long-term community plans in ways that benefit our people and places.


Beth McKibben, Senior Planner, City and Borough of Juneau –Beth McKibben, AICP, is a Senior Planner with the City and Borough of Juneau, with over 29 years of local community planning experience. Beth has been with the CBJ for over 11 years where she works on a variety of projects. She is currently the project manager for the Blueprint Downtown Juneau area plan, where one of the nine focus areas is "carrying capacity". Beth has had the opportunity to work all over Alaska, including Yakutat, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the City of Homer. During her career Beth has participated in writing, managing and updating many comprehensive plans, small area plans, lake management plans and CIP plans. Examples include the Yakutat Comprehensive Plan and Coastal Management Plan, the Homer Town Center Plan and the Homer Comprehensive Plan, Juneau Safe Routes to Schools Plan, Juneau Climate Action Plan and Juneau Housing Action Plan. Beth has extensive experience in land use permitting and zoning code amendments

Kirby Day, Princess Cruises/Holland America Group –A 32-year resident of Juneau, Alaska, Kirby Day is Port Operations Manager for Princess Cruises/Holland America Group, overseeing operations in various parts of the world in support of Princess, Holland America and Seabourn vessels. Mr. Day is a 39-year veteran of the cruise industry and has been responsible for shore operations, port/vessel management, and tour development in Alaska, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Mexico, the Baltic, British Columbia and the U.S West Coast. In 1996 Kirby helped to craft Juneau’s Tourism Best Management Practices (TBMP). This program has now been in place for 23 years and has been successful in creating guidelines to manage the challenges which can occur in a small town as a result of growth in the visitor industry. A native of Southern California, he attended the University of Denver and graduated from Cal State University at Fullerton. Mr. Day has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with a dual major in Marketing and Management.


Developing and Executing Contracts - How To


Tyler Rose, White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad – Tyler has been working in and around the Alaska Tourism Industry for most of his life. Born and raised in the Klondike, he grew up working in the family run Prospector’s Sourdough Restaurant in Skagway for 15 years. He attended and graduated from the University of Hawaii while working seasonally in retail, shipping, golf tours, and government before finally hiring on at the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Tyler began his career with the WP&YR in 2002 working on the track section crews. From there he became the Safety Officer, Director of Safety & Labor Relations, and in 2015 assumed his current role as Executive Director of Human Resources & Strategic Planning. With his diverse history, opportunities, responsibilities and relationships, Tyler offers a unique perspective on the industry.

Josh Howes, Premier Alaska Tours

Josh Howes is President of Premier Alaska Tours and has been with the company for 20 years. In this role, Josh oversees all areas of the company including sales, accounting, logistics, and operations. Josh received his undergrad degrees from Alaska Pacific University in International Business and Social Sciences, and he holds a MS in Global Supply Chain Management from the University of Alaska Anchorage.


Dee Dee O’Brien, Grande Denali (retired) – 


Alaska's Care Team - Family Assistance During a Tourism Crisis

Alaska’s care team is based on a Human Service Response approach from the Family Assistance Foundation. Providing a care team is non-medical, non-counseling support to people affected by a crisis. This panel will discuss strategies for managing media during a crisis and how Alaska’s care team at ATIA continues to assist people – travelers or businesses – who experience an emergency during their visit to Alaska.


Katherine Hilst, International Business Aviation Council – Katherine Hilst, founder and CEO of Safety Design Consulting, brings 27 years of aviation experience in various sectors of the aviation field and a deep understanding of the aviation world from many perspectives. Her current focus on aviation risk management, safety training, and safety audits is informed by her broad work experience in aviation. She is a commercial pilot, helicopter and fixed wing, as well as a rotorcraft flight instructor and instrument instructor, with more than 3200 hours of flight time. She flew helicopters commercially in the Los Angeles area and in Alaska. In addition to her flying, she was the first safety manager in the mid-90's for one of the largest helicopter operators in Alaska. She has continued working in safety for more than 25 years, including safety management consulting as well as teaching human factors and CRM to numerous aviation companies and groups. She co-founded and co-owned NorthStar Helicopters / NorthStar Trekking in Juneau, Alaska, a successful trekking and heli-skiing company. Katherine is an accredited IS-BAO auditor in all areas, as well as an auditor for the Helicopter Association International's Accredited Program of Safety (HAI-APS). 

Dan Oberlatz, Alaska Alpine Adventures

Jennifer Thompson, Thompson & Co.  – Jennifer Thompson is the principal partner and president/CEO of T&C. With her name on the door, Jennifer ensures that absolutely everything the agency produces is strategic, consistent and exceeds client expectations. She was recognized by PR News as a “Top 50 Women in PR,” she is a member of the Anchorage Athena Society and a board member of the Public Relations Society of America’s Counselors Academy. Alaska tourism holds a close spot in Jennifer’s heart as she was raised in Homer, Alaska and has worked in-depth on travel industry accounts since the beginning of her PR career. 

Alaska Tourism Shark Tank

ATIA’s Alaska Tourism Shark Tank is based on the reality TV show Shark Tank, where business entrepreneurs try to convince major industry investors - the “sharks” - to help make their dreams turn into successful business ventures. New this year – a “Member’s Choice” award, chosen by you, our members! 


Scott Habberstad, Alaska Airlines Scott is a familiar face among Alaska’s tourism industry and is a huge advocate for a healthy and successful tourism businesses. Make your business idea a sharp one and Scott may “chews” you to be a shark tank winner!


Dale Wade, Alaska Railroad Corporation – As Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service for the Alaska Railroad and a past chair of Visit Anchorage, Dale dives deep with tourism heavy hitters and knows the importance of working closely with all the fish in the sea, large and small, along the Railbelt and beyond.


Heather Handyside, GCI – As vice president of corporate communications and community engagement and lead spokesperson at GCI, Heather Handyside is responsible for finding new and innovative ways to tell GCI’s Alaska-born-and-raised story. Before joining the GCI team, Heather served as press secretary for former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, deputy municipal manager for the Municipality of Anchorage, and as Anchorage’s director of homeland security and emergency management where she learned a thing or two about communications that she now incorporates into GCI product and service launches touching the far corners of the state.


Telling Your Story - Partnering with the Media

What’s your hook? We’ve gathered a diverse panel of print, TV, and online experts in the realm of Alaska travel and journalism to discuss the tools necessary – and the challenges of – working effectively with the media. Learn tips and tricks for stating your message in a timely, factual, and compelling way to get your story heard while enlightening, educating, and informing your audience. 


Moderator: Erin Kirkland, AKontheGo  – Erin Kirkland is an Alaska-based freelance travel writer and author of the Alaska On the Go guidebook series. Her website, AKontheGO, is Alaska's only resource dedicated to exploring Alaska with children, and has been in publication since 2009. Erin has been a active member of ATIA for more than seven years and has spoken at convention about the value family travel can hold for the Alaska tourism industry, working in partnership with suppliers and DMOs to effectively tell the story of adventures in the Last Frontier.

Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Jeremy Hsieh is a journalist who’s worked in news since high school, with experience covering local beats for newspapers, producing Gavel Alaska television and social media coverage of the Alaska Legislature, producing radio stories and hosting newscasts. As the deputy managing editor at KTOO Public Media in Juneau, Jeremy’s mission is to figure out who did what, and why -- from small town mysteries to keeping state officials honest.  

Midgi Moore, Juneau Food Tours – Midgi is the owner and Chief Eating Officer for Juneau Food Tours and Alaska Culinary Experiences. She is a food writer and blogger and has worked diligently to tell Alaska’s food story, particularly in Juneau. Her company, Juneau Food Tours, opened in 2015 and has hosted thousands of hungry visitors in Alaska’s capital city. She serves on the Advisory Board for the World Food Travel Association, and locally as Vice President on the Juneau Downtown Business Association. Midgi is a passionate advocate for the food travel and visitor industries and works closely with the media to tell Alaska’s tasty stories.

Casey Ressler, Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau – Casey is the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he has been for 13 years. Prior to the CVB, he was a features writer and editor for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper.



Designing the Dream – idealizing a tourism future for public lands

If we could wave our magic wands, what would tourism look like on our public lands? What are the up-and-coming tour opportunities that require access to public land – and what types of infrastructure do we need to make those ideas a reality? ATIA will use information from this brainstorming session to influence advocacy for public lands.


Bonnie Quill, President and CEO, Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau - A 35-year veteran of the Alaska tourism industry, Bonnie came to the Mat-Su CVB 19 years ago from Bradley/Reid Communications in Anchorage, where she was the public relations account executive for the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council. Bonnie also previously worked for the Alaska Visitors Association, Princess Tours, and MarkAir. She has served on the ATIA Board of Directors since 2005.


James King, Alaska Region Director of Recreation, Land and Minerals, U.S. Forest Service – James King has served as the USDA Forest Service Director of Recreation, Lands and Minerals for the Alaska Region since late 2015. Previously, he worked as the director for Bellingham Parks and Recreation, Alaska State Parks, and Trail Mix, Inc. James was born and raised in Juneau. 


Ricky Gease, Alaska State Parks and Outdoor Recreation  – Ricky Gease is the Director of Alaska State Parks and Outdoor Recreation, a Division in the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. Alaska State Parks has 160 park units with jurisdiction of more than 3 million acres in the state and includes two of the three largest state parks in the country. 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Alaska State Park system. Prior to becoming director of Alaska State Parks, Mr. Gease served as executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and the Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau. He has more than 20 years of executive experience in non-profit management, as well as service on many state and national boards and commissions. He started his career in Alaska tourism as a park ranger at Kenai Fjords National Park in 1992. He holds a Masters and Bachelors Degree in Biology from Stanford University, and a Foraker Certificate in Non-Profit Management.

David Houghton, WildLandscapes – Over his career, David partnered with diverse stakeholders to conserve the globally important landscapes of Alaska, the Everglades, the Great Basin, Hawaii, New England, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, the Russian Far East and Northeast India. David worked extensively to develop $150 of adventure tourism infrastructure on the 5.2 million acres of public lands that surround Las Vegas. He helped to lead the efforts to conserve more than 6 million acres of habitat for the New England cottontail, and sage grouse in the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains, which prevented the need to list them as endangered species. David has extensive experience in raising public and private capital, having secured $100 million in private capital and $9.5 billion in public funds. David’s work led to the protection of $642 million worth of land in the U.S. and across the globe.


Expanding your Small Business Toolkit: Hints for operational effectiveness

Are you looking for recommendations to streamline your operations? We will cover a range of opportunities such as a new ATIA healthcare benefit option, small business lending resources, understanding your financial statements and low cost/free software and cloud services resources. Bring your laptop if you would like to join the one-on-one IT workshop. 


Todd Greimann, Northrim Bank   Todd joined Northrim Bank in 2018 with 33 years of experience in banking and the financial industry. He is a 3 rd generation Alaskan and holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He began his banking career in the management training program at FNBA, eventually becoming a VP and manager of their Homer location. Most recently, he was an EVP and Head of Wealth Management at Guaranty Bank and Trust. Todd has been a board member for the Alaska Chamber of Commerce and was involved with the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club, United Ways of Tanana Valley and Kenai Peninsula, and Junior Achievement of Alaska.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Tourism: 5 power moves to improve your ROI

As digital becomes the primary marketing channel of many tourism businesses, it is more and more difficult to stand out from competitors and reach peak conversion levels. What’s worse, every day it seems like there is a new social network you “must use” or another digital marketing tactic that you “must do.” How can you know what marketing efforts to attract tourists will be most effective? In this interactive session, Tonbo Digital experts will share the secret of how to focus on digital marketing fundamentals and take your program to the next level. Discover the power moves that can turn the foundations of all digital marketing programs.


Kristin Fowler Lindsey, Tonbo Digital - Kristen Fowler Lindsey is the founder of Tonbo Digital, an award-winning, boutique digital agency located in Anchorage, Alaska. She has been delivering innovative digital strategies to small and medium-sized businesses for more than 20 years. Currently Kristen leads the Tonbo team to transform client businesses via laser-focused digital strategies, client-empowering processes and communication, and actionable marketing insights and reporting.

Eric Fullerton, Tonbo Digital - For more than 25 years, Eric has leveraged his sales, marketing, and technology acumen to create innovative digital business development solutions for businesses. Combining the implementation SEO/PPC and eCommerce solutions for web while harnessing custom web apps and value driven content models created a model for proven return on investment. Eric has architected, wire framed, built and/or optimized over 200 websites over the past 25+ years. He thrives in the challenge of using creative ideas to solve customer problems within stakeholder constraints.


The View from DC

Video updates from Senator Lisa Murkowski and Congressman Don Young


Senator Lisa Murkowski - Alaska’s senior U.S. Senator, is a third generation Alaskan proudly serving as the first Alaskan-born senator. Murkowski was born in Ketchikan and raised in towns across the state, including Wrangell, Juneau, Fairbanks, and Anchorage. Since joining the Senate in 2002, Senator Murkowski has worked tirelessly for Alaskans and earned a reputation in the Senate for her ability to work collaboratively and across the aisle to reach common sense solutions. She is the Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and also serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, where she is the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Subcommittee. Senator Murkowski is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – the first Alaskan to serve on that panel – and also is a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

Congressman Don Young


The Great Shift! From Destination Marketing to Management

Across the globe, tourism may provide a positive option for economic development. Alaska communities are poised to have an active role in managing tourism growth to realize economic, social and cultural benefits. Listen in on our panelists who will share their stories about local, national and international tourism growth. We’ll ask how tourism management can go hand-in-hand with marketing your destination.


Sara Chambers, Director, Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing, Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development

Deb Hickok, Explore Fairbanks Deb Hickok began as a professional in the field of destination marketing and management in 1982 and has enjoyed various leadership roles throughout her career. She has had the honor of serving as President and CEO of Explore Fairbanks since 1999. She has led the Explore Fairbanks team to collaborate with the community to: secure and retain direct international flights and charters through an award-winning program that established Fairbanks as the smallest U.S. market with direct connectivity to Europe and Asia; design, open and operate in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center in downtown Fairbanks; host the 2017 Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting; among other ventures. With her guidance, Explore Fairbanks has produced an award-winning destination video and website. The organization has received accreditation through the industry gold standard set by Destinations International as well as been certified by Adventure Green Alaska as a sustainable destination – both as the first Alaska destination to receive these certifications. Deb currently serves on the board of directors for the Alaska Travel Industry Association, Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, and the United States Travel Association based in Washington DC.   

Cathy Ritter, Director, Colorado Tourism Office – As Director of the Colorado Tourism Office, Cathy Ritter leads a $20 million initiative to maximize the potential of traveler spending in a state where the stakes for managing tourism success are high. At last count, Colorado tourism generated $22.4 billion in direct traveler spending, along with $1.37 billion in state and local taxes. In 2016, with support of the statewide tourism industry, Cathy initiated development of the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a strategic plan aimed at sharpening the state’s competitive edge while promoting sustainable tourism and inspiring travelers to try less-visited destinations. In 2018, she led an initiative to establish eight new Colorado travel regions. Today, Colorado’s national marketing campaign consistently ranks among the top 10 percent in the U.S. for ROI. Cathy serves on the Executive Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and is incoming chair of the National Council of State Tourism Directors. She was named 2018 Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association’s Industry Partner of the Year. Cathy previously served in Illinois as State Travel Director. 

Dr. Christine Vogt, Professor, Arizona State University – Christine Vogt is professor in the School of Community Resources and Development at Arizona State University (ASU). She also directs the Center for Sustainable Tourism at ASU. She studies natural resource-based tourism and recreation primarily in park settings or nearby communities. Her research examines trip planning and information search. She has conducted numerous studies that model information search strategies and information sources used to plan and actuate trips to estimate visitation variables such as length of stay, places visited, activities enjoyed, and spending. These studies have been funded by offices of tourism at state and local levels, federal public land agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, and departments of transportation. She has conducted several studies in Alaska in the communities of Sitka, Valdez, and Kodiak Island. She has served on four journal editorial boards and has more than 80 published journal articles. Vogt teaches undergraduate and graduate research methods courses, as wekk as an online graduate course on sustainable tourism management.

Stéphanie Sirois, Brand Manager, Parks Canada –  Stéphanie is originally from eastern Canada and studied Communications in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. After graduating, she spent two years in Japan teaching English and traveling throughout Southeast Asia. She spent 10 years working at Destination Canada, Canada’s destination marketing organization, in Vancouver where she led the development of award-winning marketing campaigns and websites, online training programs for travel agents and collaborated with tourism industry partners to align efforts for greatest impact. Stéphanie returned to Ottawa and joined Parks Canada 4 years ago first as Manager, Tourism Industry Relations and now as Brand Manager. During this time, she has seen the industry shift attention to sustainable tourism beyond protected places and has collaborated with private sector, between all levels and branches of government and with key tourism industry stakeholders to share Parks Canada’s significant experience and knowledge to leverage the full power of sustainability as a selling proposition. 

Alaska’s Tourism Marketing Program

Jillian Simpson, ATIA with Jennifer Thompson, Thompson & Co, Patti Mackey, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau; Bonnie Quill, Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau; Kathy Hedges, Northern Alaska Tour Company; and Colleen Stephens, Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises