Thursday, April 14, 2011

Promoting Kalamazoo is topic of Keystone breakfast

Greg Ayers, president, Kalamazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc., will talk about promoting Kalamazoo at the April presentation of the Keystone Community Bank Breakfast Speaker Series.

Ayers will speak at 8 a.m., Friday, April 29, in the Dean's Conference Room of Schneider Hall, home of the Haworth College of Business. His talk, titled “Promoting Kalamazoo as a Visitor Destination," is free and open to the public.

The event begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Reservations are required by calling (269) 387-6059. Free parking is available in the Fetzer Center parking lot.

Ayers came to Kalamazoo in 2007 to become the president of the Kalamazoo County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, doing business as DiscoverKalamazoo. Since his arrival, the organization has been active in positioning the destination for many future successes. The implementation of a three-year strategic plan, development of several partnerships throughout the community, creation of a new destination brand and the launch of a new website are some of the significant accomplishments of his team.

Ayers has been involved locally with the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport’s Business Retention and Recruitment Committee, the Greater Kalamazoo United Way Campaign Cabinet, the United States Tennis Association’s Boys’ 18 & 16 National Championships Advisory Committee and the Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. Board of Directors. He is also serving a second, three-year term on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Sports Commissions.

Ayers has a bachelor’s degree in economics and minors in business administration and speech communication from Illinois State University, where he serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. His first full-time position after college was with the Peoria (Illinois) Chiefs minor league baseball team where he had a variety of positions in sales, marketing and promotions.

He began his career in the destination marketing organization industry in June of 1995 when he was named director of the Bloomington-Normal (Illinois) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Prior to arriving in southwest Michigan, Ayers served as the executive director of the South Bend/Mishawaka (Indiana) Convention and Visitors Bureau for 8 ½ years.

The speaker series is underwritten by Keystone Community Bank and provides an opportunity for members of the local community to hear top business leaders, WMU faculty, alumni and friends of the Haworth College of Business.