Conference Speakers

Josiah BrownJosiah Brown
New York Sherpa
New York Welcomes You

Session: How Thinking "Branding First" Captures Today's Traveler

After traveling over 600,000 miles across New York visiting tourism destinations and experiences, Josiah has lived up to his nickname of “The New York Sherpa". As the President/CEO of New York Welcomes You and the founder of the “New York's Best Experiences" brand he has never left his foundations of brand strategy consulting. Although Josiah has traveled all over the country speaking on "Branding First", he is no happier than when he is in his home state of New York speaking in the industry he loves: Tourism.

Robert Byron-LockwoodRoberta Byron-Lockwood
Sullivan County Visitors Association

Session: Somewhere Beyond the Rainbow: Current Trends in LGBT Tourism (Panel Presentation)

Roberta started her career in tourism as the Regional Director of the Central Leatherstocking Region coordinating nine counties in tourism marketing. Then, she served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Marketing, Advertising and Tourism for Empire State Development, Department of Economic Development under Governor Pataki. Roberta was instrumental in developing the Mile Marker Program and Kiosk System along the NYS Canal System and Thruway of the Leatherstocking Region. She was one of the founders of the New York State Tourism Promotion Agency Council, now NYSTIA. She was selected as a NYS delegate at the first and only White House Conference on Tourism, hosted by President Clinton.Roberta served as a tourism advisor council member to both Governor M. Cuomo and Governor G. Pataki, and today is a member of the Tourism Industry Coalition Advisory Council.

Tracey ClothierTracey Clothier
Senior Planner
The LA Group, P.C.

Session: Trail-Making Along the Hudson Valley and Champlain Canal Corridor

Ms. Clothier has over 25 years of experience as a certified environmental and land use planner specializing in corridor management, watershed planning, historic preservation, environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, community master plans, recreational studies and water quality assessments.

Bill GeistBill Geist

Session: Keynote Address - Traversing the Disruption

Bill Geist is the Chief Instigator at DMOproz, a firm specializing in strategic planning, governance, marketing and legislative issues for convention and visitor bureaus, tourism-focused chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and communities. Bill is the author of the acclaimed Destination Leadership for Boards and a contributor to Fundamentals in Destination Marketing. Bill served as the President/CEO of the Greater Madison (WI) Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1990-1995. During his tenure, he was the lead spokesperson and co-strategist for the successful public referendum fight to build the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center. Before moving to Madison, Bill led the Kankakee County (IL) CVB and held various management and programming positions with broadcast media in the Chicago area.

Doug HaneyDoug Haney
Cycle Adirondacks

Session: Creating the Ultimate Bicycle Tourism Brand

Husband, dad of girls, optimist, storyteller, water lover, cyclist, volunteer, five Olympics, 48 states, 32 countries, genuinely happy. After two years as an Event Manager for Cycle Adirondacks, Doug confidently joins Matt VanSlyke as Co-Director for the 2017 ride. As the main community and marketing lead, you'll find Doug smiling and talking to pretty much everyone. After a conversation with Doug, you'll be smiling too. He lives in Saranac Lake with his wife Kat and their two constantly outside and dirty little girls, Gwen and Liesl.

Gavin LandryGavin Landry
Director of Tourism
Empire State Development/I Love NY

Session: "Vision 2020" Welcome Remarks and Opening Session

Gavin Landry joined Empire State Development (ESD) as the Executive Director of Tourism in March of 2013. Mr. Landry's appointment came at a time of continued tourism growth across New York State and amidst the launch of a series of new tourism initiatives by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Thanks to the support of Governor Cuomo, tourism has become the fourth largest employer in the State. As Executive Director, Mr. Landry leads the iconic I LOVE NEW YORK marketing campaign, developing and implementing new initiatives to further the State's positive tourism growth. Mr. Landry also works closely with the New York State Tourism Advisory Council, which provides input and advice regarding the state's tourism efforts.

Paul LeonePaul Leone
Executive Director
New York State Brewers Association

Session: The Craft Beverage Industry Impact on Tourism - it's Bigger Than You Think! (Panel Presentation)

Paul Leone began his career as a multi-media producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He soon moved on to editing, shooting, and producing several series for cable television and later worked in the studio, agency, and advertising industry. After living in several parts of the country, he moved back home to New York State in 2012 and was hired as the first Executive Director of the New York State Brewers Association in 2013. Since then, he has seen New York's brewing industry double in size, many new laws passed, and has had the honor to have met hundreds of incredible and passionate brewers all over the state and country. According to Paul, working for the brewers of New York State and the incredible Board of Directors guiding the industry every day, has been a true privilege to say the least.

Ross Levi.jpgRoss Levi
Vice President
Marketing Initiatives
Empire State Development/I LOVE NY

Somewhere Beyond the Rainbow: Current Trends in LGBT Tourism (Panel Presentation)

"Vision 2020" Welcome Remarks and Opening Session

Ross D. Levi helps coordinate the state's iconic I LOVE NEW YORK tourism program, with a particular emphasis on specialized marketing events and campaigns. After joining ESD in 2012, Ross was instrumental in creating the I LOVE NEW YORK LGBT initiative, which he continues to oversee. He also played a leading role in launching and coordinating tourism efforts established by Governor Andrew Cuomo, including the annual Tourism Summits, the Adirondack Challenge event, I LOVE NEW YORK Bus program and Path Through History heritage tourism initiative. Previously, Ross was Executive Director at New York's statewide LGBT advocacy organization, served as a legislative director in the New York State Senate and did marketing in the film industry for companies including Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Miramax. He is a published author and holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, and a B.S. from Boston University where he received local and national recognition for commercial writing and filmmaking.

Hillarie Logan-DecheneHillarie Logan-Dechene
Director of Philanthropy
The Wild Center

Session: Marketing the Adirondacks to Millennials: The Adirondacks & The Next Generation (Panel Presentation)

Hillarie's career is about strengthening communities, promoting and building the capacity of non-profit organizations. She joined the Development Department at the Adirondack Museum in 1990 rising to Director of Institutional Advancement. In 2006, she became the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Paul Smith's College. Accepted current position at The Wild Center in 2010 and led a successful $23 million fundraising campaign. She's also on the Arts Administration faculty at Skidmore College. Appointed Chair of Governor Cuomo's NY State Commission on National and Community Service, which administers the NY State's AmeriCorps program and is an active board member the Museum Association of NY. She studied at The American University in Paris; BA in Communications from the State University of NY at Albany; MA in Non-Profit Leadership and Community Sustainability from Skidmore College.

Amanda MageeAmanda Magee
Principal, New Business Development
Trampoline Design

Session: Marketing the Adirondacks to Millennials: The Adirondacks & The Next Generation (Panel Presentation)

Amanda Magee is a founding Principal of Trampoline Design, a New York State Women Owned Business located in Glens Falls. Amanda has been supporting municipality, resort, and small business clients with destination marketing strategies since 2003. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Amanda strikes an insider/outsider balance to maintain the objectivity to ensure fresh messages that resonate with multiple audience segments and establish people's next favorite destination. Trampoline Design offers services ranging from strategy and branding to campaign work, videography, social media, and communication consultancies.

Sean MageeSean Magee
Brand Strategy
Trampoline Design

Session: Marketing the Adirondacks to Millennials: The Adirondacks & The Next Generation (Panel Presentation)

Sean grew up in Lake George, NY and graduated from the Rochester Institute for Technology. Sean has steered the agency from a 4 person shop, to twelve employees strong, all the while adapting the services offered to meet audiences where they spend time. Weaving strategy, storytelling, and visually arresting imagery to get results.

Stanzi McGlynnStanzi McGlynn
Digital Content Fellow
The Wild Center

Session: Marketing the Adirondacks to Millennials: The Adirondacks & The Next Generation (Panel Presentation)

Stanzi McGlynn is a passionate digital marketer dedicated to sharing the Adirondacks' unique story with the world. As The Wild Center's Digital Content Fellow, Stanzi utilizes her skillsets in paid and earned media to engage the Center's global audience across the digital landscape. Previously, Stanzi worked at Adworkshop promoting Adirondack and New York State clients across industries including Travel and Tourism, Hospitality, Finance, Education, Non-Profit, and Healthcare, and led the agency's social media strategy as Senior Digital Marketing Specialist. She is a 2010 graduate of St. Lawrence University (BA Economics, Fine Arts, and African Studies) and lives in Lake Placid.

Brian McKenzieBrian McKenzie
Finger Lakes Distilling

Session: The Craft Beverage Industry Impact on Tourism - it's Bigger Than You Think! (Panel Presentation)

Brian McKenzie is the managing partner and co-founder of Finger Lakes Distilling, located in upstate New York. Brian was born and raised in the Finger Lakes Region and has always had an interest in the burgeoning local wine industry. After visits to distilleries in Scotland and Kentucky sparked a passion for the spirits business, Brian decided to leave his job working for a regional community bank to pursue Finger Lakes Distilling. A graduate of Cornell University, Brian's background is in finance and economics. He handles the marketing, finance, and legal aspects of the business.

Namasivayam, Ph.D.Karthik Namasivayam, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Rochester Institute of Technology

Session: Impact of Technology on Tourism (General Session)

Currently the Chair of the Hospitality and Tourism Department at RIT, Karthik has over 25 years of experience straddling the hotel industry and academia across Asia, Europe, and the US. He has held a variety of positions including as consultant, various managerial positions in hospitality, as an entrepreneur, and as an academic. His research interests are in customer satisfaction and service innovations. He is currently interested in the impact of technology on hospitality and tourism organizations.

Jeff OlsonJeff Olson
Registered Architect
Alta Planning & Design

Session: Trail-Making Along the Hudson River Valley and Champlain Canal Corridor

Mr. Olson is a registered architect, planner, and author who has been involved in greenways, open space, active living, and alternative mobility projects for more than 25 years. He has had a diverse career with national, international, and local experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Anna PakmanAnna Pakman
Director, Digital Strategy
Empire State Development/I LOVE NY

Session: Digital Tourism 2020 (Panel Presentation)

As Director of Digital Strategy for Empire State Development, Anna Pakman serves as head of digital for New York State's chief economic development agency. In this role, she oversees digital marketing initiatives for I LOVE NY tourism and business development programs. Prior to joining New York State, Anna spent several years in the television industry leading award-winning social and digital media campaigns for Current TV, Al Jazeera America and the Oxygen Network. Anna holds an MBA in Marketing and Media Management from Columbia Business School and a BS in Finance and International Business from NYU's Stern School of Business.

Paul ThomasPaul Thomas
Executive Director
Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Session: The Craft Beverage Industry Impact on Tourism - it's Bigger Than You Think! (Panel Presentation)

Raised in Corning NY, and a graduate of Cornell University in Public Communications, Paul spent several years at American Express as a Communications Specialist, then as National Marketing Manager for Sunbelt National Mortgage, and finally as AVP of Product Development at With the dotcom implosion, Paul returned home as Director of Marketing at a local chamber of commerce, then was recruited to assist the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, and then offered the opportunity to lead as Executive Director. Paul has served the Trail for over 11 years and continues to do his best to help grow our industry.

Matt VanSlykeMatt VanSlyke

Cycle Adirondacks

Session: Creating the Ultimate Bicycle Tourism Brand

After serving as a Cycle Adirondacks Event Manager for the past two years, Matt has stepped up to Co-Direct the 2017 ride along with Doug Haney. Because he's unflinchingly dedicated to providing riders with a truly memorable rides, he'll be the guy to buy a beer for at the end of each incredible day. Matt and his wife, Jodi, were born and raised in Upstate New York. They've returned there to raise their boys, Gavin and Gabriel, who are growing up seeing the world from the perspective their dad loves best.

Tait WardlawTait Wardlaw
Senior Director
Creative and Client Strategy

Session: Essential Elements: How Truth, Vision and Amplification Can Maximize Virtual Reality (and Other New Technologies.)

Tait has more than 20 years of brand and business building in the outdoor, hospitality and destination marketing spaces. Before taking on his role at Adworkshop, Tait was integral in launching several brands as an independent consultant. Prior to that, Tait held various senior executive roles at internationally renowned winter recreation companies including the Rossignol Group and Chugach Powder Guides. Tait's expertise lies in brand-building, company turnarounds, creative management and applying real-world perspective to strategic planning.

Lee WarnockLee Warnock
Business Development

Session: Digital Advertising Best Practices and How to Measure the Success of a Digital Media Campaign

Lee Warnock of Orange142 hails from Houston, TX, and he's called Austin home for the past 11 years. Lee has spent his entire career in digital media, existing on every side of the pixel; from Buyer, Planner, Trafficker, Analyst, Client Services and finally finding his localhost in Business Development. His greatest love in life is crafting custom solutions in a comprehensive strategy by creating a cohesive voice for every client across wide ranging and far reaching capabilities arsenal to ensure KPI satisfaction and accomplish the goals of meeting or exceeding every campaign's success metrics, every time. His second greatest love is reporting on those same metrics.