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
Mr. Rick Howarth
Six Flags America | Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County
Mr. Howarth is park president of Six Flags America and is responsible for all park operations, strategic direction and general management for the 131-acre theme and water park located in Bowie, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.
A native of Largo, Maryland, Mr. Howarth began his career in the theme park industry in 1992 as a finance intern at Wild World while studying at the University of Maryland in College Park. Wild World later became known as Adventure World before being rebranded as Six Flags America in 1999.
Ms. Judy Long Bixler
Vice 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.
Mr. David Meloy
Merit Hotel Group | Rockville
Mr. Meloy has been involved in the lodging industry for three decades. During that time, he has served in many aspects of the hotel industry from director of sales to vice president of operations. Mr. Meloy currently owns and operates his own company that owns four properties and has others in development. He also has a passion for ensuring that the hospitality industry’s workforce of tomorrow is trained today.
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 19 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 secretary 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.
Mr. Alan R. Friedman
Attorney at Law
Alan has been an attorney and Annapolis resident for over 30 years. He currently serves as General Counsel and Partner in Blue Water Strategies Consultants, LLC. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Governmental Relations for Anne Arundel County, a position which found him working closely with elected officials in the County Council and the Maryland General Assembly on land use, public safety, environment, and education issues. He previously served in a series of senior staff positions in the Office of the Governor, focusing on agency reorganization, policy initiatives and legislative
relations. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office, Alan spent three years living in the former Soviet Union. He served as a Rule of Law Liaison for the American Bar Association and as a consultant to the World Bank’s Judicial Reform Project. Alan holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, with High Honors, from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Maryland Law School.
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
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
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. 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.
Ms. Erin McNaboe
Maryland Ram’s Head Group
Erin McNaboe has worked for the Rams Head Group since 2002, first as Director of Marketing then as Vice President, and now President. Erin serves as chairperson for the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACCVB), and started Restaurant Week in Annapolis. As a big supporter of the Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, which benefits the Special Olympics, Erin has been known to plunge to support the cause.
Mr. James Matthew Neitzey
Prince George’s County CVB
Executive Director of the Prince George’s County CVB since 1979, Mr. Neitzey is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and holds a master’s degree in tourism administration from George Washington University. He is a past president of the Maryland Tourism Council; former Chairman of both the Maryland Governor’s Tourism Industry Conference and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. Mr. Neitzey was born, raised, and resides in Prince Georges County.
Ms. Candace Breland Osunsade
SVP, Chief Administrative Officer
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.
Ms. Renz has nearly 20 years of experience in management, public relations and marketing in the hospitality and retail industries. She is the Director of Marketing for Big Steaks Management, a restaurant management group with over 500 employees, which operates nine Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations (in Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina) and the Havana Club, a Baltimore nightclub. Her past affiliations include positions at Palm Management Corporation and Joseph A. Bank Clothiers.
Mr. Vira Safai
Comfort Inn Shady Grove | Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Mr. Safai has 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is a graduate of the University of Maryland with an emphasis in Economics and Criminology. He has used his combined knowledge of the hospitality industry along with his education to lay the groundwork for Platinum Hospitality, Inc., which manages hotels throughout the nation. For the past 20 years, Mr. Safai has been a Managing Partner for The Comfort Inn, Shady Grove hotel, which has won numerous awards from Choice Hotels and various other business entities. Additionally, Mr. Safai serves on several special committees and sits on the board of various businesses and civic organizations, including: the Montgomery County Conference & Visitors Bureau, Business Advisory Committee to the 1st District Montgomery County Police Department, and Hospitality & Tourism Cluster Advisory Board to Montgomery County Public Schools to name a few.
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.
The Honorable John Astle
District 30 | Anne Arundel County
Senator Astle has served on the Maryland Tourism Development Board since 2004. He has served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
The Honorable Pamela G. Beidle
Maryland House of Delegates
District 32 | Anne Arundel County
Delegate Beidle has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2007, serving on the House Environmental Matters Committee and several sub-committees. She is a member of the Joint Committee on Base Realignment and Closure. Delegate Beidle is the President of the Beidle Insurance Agency and Managing Partner of the Glen Oak Professional Center. A resident of Anne Arundel County, Delegate Beidle is married with three children. She served eight years on the Anne Arundel County Council and four years on the A A County Economic Development Corporation. She has been honored with several professional awards and is a board and/or general member (past and/or present) serving organizations/businesses such as: Leadership Anne Arundel; Hospice of the Chesapeake; Arundel Federal Savings Bank; The Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, West County Chamber and the BWI Business Partnership.
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 James N. Mathias, Jr.
District 38 | Somerset, Wicomico & Worcester Counties
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. Currently he is 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. Senator Mathias is a member of the Executive Nominations Committee, the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR), Property and Casualty Subcommittee of the Finance Committee, Joint Subcommittee on Program Open Space/ Agricultural Land Preservation, and Chair, Senate Select Committee No. 10.
Executive Directors Council
2015 Executive Directors Council to the Maryland Tourism Development Board
Brewers Association of Maryland (BAM)
Mr. Kevin Atticks
6247 Falls Road, Suite G | Baltimore, MD 21209
T: 410-252-9463; 800-237-9463 | F: 240-525-7438 | E: email@example.com
Marine Trades Association of Maryland
Ms. Susan Zellers
PO Box 3148 | Annapolis, MD 21403
T: 410-269-0741 | F: 410-626-1940 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organization (MDMO)
Ms. Cassandra M. Vanhooser
Director | Talbot County Office of Tourism
11 S. Harrison Street | Easton, MD 21601
T: 410-770-8000 | F: 410-770-8057 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maryland Coalition of Heritage Areas
Ms. Roslyn Racanello
PO Box 745 | Hughesville, MD 20637
T: 301-274-4083 | F: 301-274-1924 | E: email@example.com
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: amy@MDlodging.org
Maryland Motorcoach Association
Ms. Mary Presley
P.O. Box 320252 | Alexandria, VA 22320
T: 571-312-7112 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maryland Horse Industry Board
Mr. Ross Peddicord
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 410-841-5798 | E: email@example.com
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: thasseltine@MarylandSports.us
Maryland Retailers Association
Ms. Cailey Locklair Tolle
171 Conduit Street | Annapolis, MD 21401
T: 410-269-1440 | F: 410-269-0325 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association
Ms. Jane Springer
150 E. Main Street, Suite 104 | Westminster, MD 21157
T: 410-876-3424 | F: 410-871-2545 | E: email@example.com
Maryland Tourism Coalition
Ms. Wini Roche
PO Box 298 | Crownsville, MD 21032
T: 443-563-1315 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maryland Tourism Education Foundation
Ms. Roseanne Souza
PO Box 128 | Annapolis, MD 21404-0128
T: 410-573-1300 | F: 410-573-1305 | E: email@example.com
Maryland Wineries Association
Mr. Kevin Atticks
6247 Falls Road, Suite G | Baltimore, MD 21209
T: 410-252-9463; 800-237-9463 | F: 240-525-7438 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Restaurant Association of Maryland
Mr. Marshall Weston Jr.
President and CEO
6301 Hillside Court | Columbia, MD 21046
T: 410-290-6800 x1013 | Email: email@example.com
September 29, 2016
The Inn at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club
180 Pier One Road
Stevensville, MD 21666
February 24, 2017
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Ram’s Head Tavern
33 West Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
May 24, 2017
11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Maritime Conference Center
692 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
Minutes and Agendas
MTDB Business Meeting Minutes June 15, 2016
MTDB Business Meeting Minutes February 24, 2017
MTDB Business Meeting Agenda February 24, 2017
MTDB Business Meeting Agenda May 24, 2017
An act outlining the goals and responsibilities of the Maryland Tourism Development Board. Includes list of documents to be produced by the Board annually.
An act which increased the membership of the Maryland Tourism Development Board and defined which levels of government which appointed the members.
The act that established the Maryland Tourism Development Board and defined its membership, governance and responsibilities.
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.