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Tourism Board

The work of the Office of Tourism is guided and supported by hospitality industry leadership under the gubernatorially appointed board of executives representing lodging, retail, transportation, food service and attractions, and six members of Maryland’s General Assembly.

By General Assembly authority, the Board has broad policy powers to guide the direction of all activities necessary to develop and market the State as a destination.

Tourism Board Members

Executive Committee

Ms. Judy Long Bixler
Chair – Transportation
Oxford Bellevue Ferry

Judy Bixler is co-owner and captain of the oldest privately-owned ferry in the U.S. – the Oxford Bellevue Ferry which is located in Oxford, MD. In 1999, she was captain of a 40-foot sailing vessel and in 2000 was a ferry crew member, accumulating sea time for a Coast Guard captain’s license. Judy has been president of the Oxford Bellevue Ferry since 2001.


Members at Large

Ms. Donna Abbott
Tourism and Marketing Director
Town of Ocean City

Donna Abbott was promoted to the position of Tourism and Marketing Director for the Town of Ocean City in 2012, overseeing the advertising and marketing of the town as a premiere vacation destination. Donna has been employed by the Town for 22 years, holding increasingly responsible positions in the Town’s Communications and Tourism departments, including as the town’s first Communications Manager responsible for public relations activities, website content, media relations and general communications regarding events, operations and programs of the Town. Previously, she managed the public relations programs for the Tourism Department working closely with the Town’s advertising agency and tourism marketing campaigns. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including two Governor’s Citations, for marketing and public relations campaigns. Donna presently serves as vice chair on the executive board of the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations.
A graduate of Towson University with a BS in Mass Communications, Donna held editorial and publication management positions in print and radio media earlier in her career.


Mr. Adolph W. Ebersberger
Insurance and Financial Specialist – Retired
Millersville, Anne Arundel County

Mr. Ebersberger has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry. His agency was among the largest and most successful in the state prior to his temporary retirement in the early 1990s. He currently provides financial planning services for his clients on a part-time basis. Mr. Ebersberger served in the Navy as a legal officer.


Ms. Carmen E. Gonzales
Director of Communications
Live! Casino & Hotel

Carmen E. Gonzales currently serves as Director of Communications for Live! Casino & Hotel, leading the overall communication strategy and government and community relations efforts for one of the largest drivers of tourism and economic development in Maryland. Her keen instincts, developed over more than 30 years in the entertainment, hospitality and tourism industries, combined with a passion for supporting the community, have guided communication for the property that keeps it among the leading gaming destinations in the country. Ms. Gonzales facilitated communication through all phases of development, including the Grand Opening, subsequent expansion milestones, the groundbreaking and opening of the luxury Live! Hotel, and Live! Lofts hotel acquisition and renovation. She also serves on The Cordish Companies’ corporate development team for expansion projects in other gaming jurisdictions, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Prior to joining Live!, Ms. Gonzales held leadership positions for several high-profile gaming and entertainment companies, including Pinnacle Entertainment in Atlantic City, NJ and St. Louis, MO; the Miss America Organization in Atlantic City, NJ; and the South Jersey Tourism Corporation. She is an accomplished producer, writer and director, having developed and launched a YouTube entertainment TV show; several commercials; and executed countless awards shows, premieres and special events with film actors and entertainers for ABC Daytime, Walt Disney Pictures, among many other entertainment brands.

She also serves on the Board of Directors the Central Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Susan G. Komen Maryland, and the Casey Cares Foundation.


Mr. Monroe Harrison
Director, Public Affairs
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
National Harbor

Monroe’s career with Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center began in April 2007 as the Director of Public Affairs. In this current responsibility, he leads the government affairs and community relations efforts in building good corporate citizenship for the property in the Washington, DC Metro Area. Since moving to the area he has become an active supporter for tourism by serving on the Prince George’s Community College Executive Advisory Board for Hospitality and Tourism Institute, Executive Committee Member on the Maryland Hotel Lodging Association and the Prince George’s County Conventions and Visitor Bureau. He is a graduate of Leadership Prince George’s County, Leadership Greater Washington and a current class member of Leadership Maryland.

Monroe and his wife, Diana reside in Washington, DC. In his spare time, he enjoys attending cultural events, salt-water fishing, golfing, and collecting memorabilia from various social events.



Mr. G. Hale Harrison
Vice President of Operations & Real Estate
Harrison Group Resort Hotels

G. Hale Harrison is Vice President of Operations & Real Estate for Harrison Group Resort Hotels in Ocean City, Maryland. Mr. Harrison currently serves on the board of Calvin B. Taylor Bank and the Ocean City Development Corporation. He is past President of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and a past member of the Town of Ocean City’s Tourism Commission.


Mr. Michael James
President and COO
Hospitality Partners

President and COO of Hospitality Partners, the Maryland based Hotel Management Company. Mr. James assumed the role of President late in 2012. Hospitality Partners has offices in both Ocean City and Bethesda. Mr. James has over 30 years of experience in the Hospitality Industry, managing a wide array of hotels, both independent and franchise, including Sheraton, Guest Quarters Suites, Embassy Suites, Doubletree and Marriott. Mr. James joined Hospitality Partners in 1989 and spent a decade in the Washington D.C. area managing several properties.


Mr. Casey Jenkins
Executive Chef/Owner
Southern Living Restaurant Group

Casey Jenkins, Executive Chef/ Owner of the Southern Living Restaurant Group, has over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Starting his career in the United States Marine Corps cooking for hundreds of Marines allowed him the opportunity to attend the Culinary Institute of America, in Hyde Park New York. After graduating he worked in a number of well-known restaurants throughout New York: Aquavits, Waters Edge, and The Delegates Dining Room at the United Nations before moving on to national companies Sodexho, and Aramark working in front line leadership positions in the Maryland, and DC areas. In 2006 Chef Jenkins opened his first restaurant in Baltimore Md., Darker than Blue Café, over the last decade wining many notable awards: Baltimore Magazine 50 best restaurants 2009, and Best Southern Restaurant of 2010. In 2013 Chef Jenkins opened Birdland Sports Bar & Grill, with the new Darker than Blue Café slated to open in 2018.


Ms. Melonie Johnson
President and Chief Operating Officer
MGM National Harbor

A graduate of the University of New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Melonie Johnson is the President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MGM National Harbor. In this role, she is responsible for leading the Executive Committee in developing the strategic direction along with overseeing daily operations.

Melonie’s gaming and hospitality career spans nearly 25 years, during which she held key leadership positions at major properties throughout the United States. She has been with MGM Resorts since 2015, serving most recently as President & COO of Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, Mississippi. While there, she set a strong tone by creating a service-oriented culture and developing a strategic plan that ensured the property met its short- and long-term goals. Gold Strike displayed record performance under Melonie’s leadership and played a key role in driving the Company’s regional success.

Her decades of leadership experience at regional gaming properties — along with her financial expertise and strategic thinking — have served her well in a number of very impressive gaming positions such as, Assistant General Manager at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia, CFO/Interim General Manager at Hollywood Casino Aurora in Illinois and Regional Vice President of Operations and Vice President of Finance for Caesars Entertainment Corporation, among other roles.
Melonie and her husband Mark share six children and five grandchildren.


Ms. Cara Hergan Joyce
Urban Pirates | Baltimore, Maryland

Cara Hergan Joyce is the visionary behind Urban Pirates, a successful tourist attraction, founded nine years ago in Baltimore. Urban Pirates has expanded, the new location in National Harbor, Maryland opened in April 2016. Her business is consistently recognized as one of the Top 5 Attractions; entertaining over 500,000 customers. Cara sits on The White House Business Forward Leadership Council, the Board of the Fell’s Point Preservation Society and she is actively involved with the Baltimore Tourism Association among other organizations. Cara taught Special Education for over two decades in Anne Arundel County Public Schools and has remained involved in athletics by teaching and coaching youth sports.


Senator James N. Mathias, Jr.

Mr. James N. Mathias, Jr.
Former Senator, District 38

Jim was raised in Baltimore Maryland. He graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in Towson and continued his education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science in 1974. He was formely the Maryland State Senator of District 38, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties and the Business Development Officer, for Royal Plus, Inc.

Jim has spent his lifetime in the service of others. He served as a member of the Ocean City Board of Zoning Appeals, the Ocean City Council and then Mayor of the town of Ocean City Maryland. He served as Mayor from 1996 to 2006. That year he was appointed Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly, District 38B, and was elected as the Delegate in 2006, serving on the Economic Matters Committee. He maintained that role until 2011 when he was elected a Maryland State Senator, for District 38, being re-elected to the State Senate in 2014, serving on the Senate Finance Committee.


Mr. Pat Nutter
Former Calvert County Commissioner

Pat retired from law enforcement after a thirty–two year career, served as Chief Zoning Enforcement officer in Calvert County for ten years, served on the Calvert County Board of Appeals for four years and was elected Calvert County Commissioner for two four– year terms. During his tenure as a county Commissioner Pat worked closely with the county’s tourism board to add additional funding to its budget in support of its promotional efforts.


Ms. Candace Breland Osunsade
SVP, Chief Administrative Officer
National Aquarium

The National Aquarium welcomed Candace Osunsade to the team in 2008, as the Vice President of Human Resources and today she serves as the National Aquarium’s SVP, Chief Administrative Officer. Candace is a key advisor to the CEO and a member of the Aquarium’s Leadership Team; with accountabilities for Strategy & Planning, Human Resources, Volunteer Programs, Administrative Services and the Executive Office.

Candace is a respected thought leader with over twenty-five years of experience; designing and implementing strategic Human Capital programs and initiatives. Candace is an experienced leader of transformational change and a skilled developer of a high performing teams with expertise in the following practice areas: Organizational Development, Leadership Development, Project Management, Process Design, and Board Governance. Candace is a graduate of Cornell University ILR School and is a certified Senior Human Resource professional and a Standards of Excellence consultant.

In 2015 Candace was recognized as the Chief Human Resource Officer of year by HRO magazine and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Network 2000, and GBC Leadership. Candace is actively engaged in the community as a Board Member and committed volunteer with mission based organizations focused on improving educational outcomes for under-served students.


Mr. Dan Spedden
Hagerstown Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Dan currently serves as the President of the Hagerstown Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, an organization with a mission to promote the economic development of Hagerstown and Washington County through travel and tourism. Dan is also the State Park Superintendent of the South Mountain Recreation Area, a cluster of four State Parks and a State Battlefield on the border of Frederick and Washington Counties. The 16,600 acre complex includes Gathland, Greenbrier, South Mountain, and Washington Monument State Parks and the South Mountain State Battlefield. Dan was a law enforcement ranger and retired at the rank of captain in October 2013. Originally from Baltimore County, Maryland a 1982 graduate of the University of Maine’s Natural Resource Management program. Dan resides in Hagerstown, MD with his wife of 30 years Janette and his 23 year old son Zach.



Ms. Alexandra Lyn von Paris (Ali)
CEO & Founder
Route One Apparel

In 2010, while still an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Ali designed a t-shirt for her friends to commemorate the closing of a popular local watering hole. When demand for the t-shirts spread quickly through social media, Ali decided to begin selling them online, and soon she had a budding business.

What began as a fun project headquartered in her dorm room is now Ali’s career. Today, her company, Route One Apparel, is the premier source for trendy and affordable Maryland pride apparel and accessories. Since its founding, the company has accumulated more than 100,000 unique orders and now offers a full line of over 1,000 items that are sold online and in retailers throughout the area. Route One Apparel merchandise can be seen sported by local icons and fans of all ages as the Maryland pride trend continues to gain popularity throughout our state.

2016 has been a year of many accolades for Ali, as she was named both “Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by the University of Maryland Alumni Association and “Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. She was also named one of Baltimore’s “40 Under 40” of 2016 by the Baltimore Business Journal.


Legislative Appointees

The Honorable Wendell R. Beitzel
Maryland House of Delegates
District 1A | Garrett & Allegany Counties

Delegate Beitzel is a recent appointment to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. He is owner of the Accident Bakery and President of Beitzel Enterprises, Inc.


The Honorable Bill Ferguson
District 46 | Baltimore City

Senator Ferguson, was elected to the Maryland State Senate in 2010, then becoming the youngest ever-elected State Senator in Maryland’s history.

A lifelong Maryland resident, Bill made Baltimore City his home when he joined Teach for America after graduating from Davidson College with a double major in political science and economics. From 2005 to 2007, Bill taught U.S. history and U.S. government to ninth and tenth graders in a breakout academy of one of Baltimore’s most challenged high schools.

After teaching, Bill worked as a Community Liaison for the Baltimore City Council President’s Office; earned a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law; and served as the Special Assistant to Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of the Baltimore City Public Schools. Through these pursuits, Ferguson continually drew from his classroom experiences to find ways to bring new resources and greater attention to the city’s educational achievement gap. Senator Ferguson is married with two children and two dogs.


The Honorable Katie Fry-Hester
District 9 | Carroll and Howard Counties

Katie Fry-Hester has lived in Howard County for 16 years with her husband and their two daughters.

She has a degree from Cornell University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, a top ten program in the U.S. where she learned the practical skills needed to solve real-world problems; and worked for SustainAbility, a consultancy focused on corporate responsibility, and most recently, Katie was the Americas Director of The Partnering Initiative.

She was elected to the Maryland Senate for Carroll and Howard Counties in 2018.


Executive Directors Council to the Maryland Tourism Development Board

Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM)

Mr. Kevin Atticks
Executive Director
6247 Falls Road, Suite G | Baltimore, MD 21209
T: 410-252-9463; 800-237-9463 | F: 240-525-7438 | E:

Marine Trades Association of Maryland

Ms. Susan Zellers
PO Box 3148 | Annapolis, MD 21403
T: 410-269-0741 | F: 410-626-1940 | E:

Maryland Association of Campgrounds

Ms. Deborah Carter
Executive Director | Buttonwood Beach RV Resort
PO Box 28 | Earleville, MD 21919
T: 410-275-2108 | F: 410-275-8309 | E:

Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organization (MDMO)

Ms. Lisa Challenger
MDMO Chair
Director | Worcester County Tourism
104 West Market Street | Snow Hill, MD 21863
T: 410-632-3110 | F: 410-632-3158 | E:

Maryland Horse Industry Board

Mr. Ross Peddicord
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 410-841-5798 | E:


Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association

Ms. Amy Rohrer, CAE
20 Ridgely Ave., Suite 309 | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 410-974-4472 | F: 410-266-7463 | E:

Maryland Motorcoach Association

Ms. Mary Presley
Executive Administrator
P.O. Box 320252 | Alexandria, VA 22320
T: 571-312-7112 | E:


Maryland Sports

Mr. Terry Hasseltine, CSEE
Executive Director | The Warehouse at Camden Yards
323 W. Camden Street, 5th Floor | Baltimore, MD 21201
T: 410-223-4139 | E:

Maryland Retailers Association

Ms. Cailey Locklair Tolle
171 Conduit Street | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 410-269-1440 | F: 410-269-0325 | E:

Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association

Ms. Jane Springer
Executive Director
150 E. Main Street, Suite 104 | Westminster, MD 21157
T: 410-876-3424 | F: 410-871-2545 | E:

Maryland Tourism Coalition

Ms. Ruth Toomey
Executive Director
626 C Admiral Drive #311 | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 336-254-4648 | E:

Maryland Tourism Education Foundation

Ms. Roseanne Souza
Executive Director
PO Box 128 | Annapolis, MD 21404-0128
T: 410-573-1300 | F: 410-573-1305 | E:

Maryland Wineries Association

Mr. Kevin Atticks
Executive Director
6247 Falls Road, Suite G | Baltimore, MD 21209
T: 410-252-9463; 800-237-9463 | F: 240-525-7438 | E:

Restaurant Association of Maryland

Mr. Marshall Weston Jr.
President and CEO
6301 Hillside Court | Columbia, MD 21046
T: 410-290-6800 x1013 | Email:

Meeting Dates

Quarterly Business Meeting
February 15, 2019
1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
House Office Building, Room 150
Annapolis, MD 21401
Quarterly Business Meeting
April 17, 2019
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Legislative wrap-up via conference call
PIN: 482 675 325#
Quarterly Business Meeting
June 5, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Radisson Hotel at Cross Keys
5100 Falls Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21210
Quarterly Business Meeting
September 8, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Westin – BWI
1110 Old Elkridge Landing Rd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
Quarterly Business Meeting
March 1, 2018
10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Loews Annapolis Hotel, Powerhouse Point Lookout Room, 3rd Floor
126 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Quarterly Business Meeting
June 6, 2018
11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House
5001 Washington Blvd.
Halethorpe, MD 21227
Quarterly Business Meeting
November 14, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Golf Resort, Marina & Spa
100 Heron Blvd
Cambridge, MD 21613


MTDB Business Meeting Agenda February 15, 2019

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda April 17, 2019

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda June 5, 2019

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda March 1, 2018

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda June 6, 2018

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda February 24, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda May 24, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda September 27, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Agenda November 8, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes February 15, 2019

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes March 1, 2018

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes June 8, 2018

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes November 14, 2018

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes February 24, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes May 24, 2017

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MTDB Business Meeting Minutes November 8, 2017

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View MTDB Business Meeting Minutes Archive


HB 1590 Responsibilities of the MTDB
An act outlining the goals and responsibilities of the Maryland Tourism Development Board. Includes list of documents to be produced by the Board annually.

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House Bill 690
An act which increased the membership of the Maryland Tourism Development Board and defined which levels of government which appointed the members.

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House Bill 1590
The act that established the Maryland Tourism Development Board and defined its membership, governance and responsibilities.

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Senate Bill 0087
This bill alters the voting membership of the Maryland Tourism Development Board by granting three existing nonvoting members appointed by the Governor the right to vote. The composition of the board remains otherwise unchanged.

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