The Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association (MH&LA) and the Maryland Tourism Council (MTC) announced today that David D. Reel, CAE, has been appointed to serve as the new President/CEO of both associations. Reel succeeds Mary Jo McCulloch who is retiring after 25 years of distinguished service as President/CEO of both organizations.
A special transition committee was formed with members of both the MH&LA and MTC after the announcement of McCulloch’s retirement to review resumes and interview potential candidates for the position. Among the many professionals who applied, Reel was selected by the committee as the best candidate to build on the associations’ past accomplishments and lead them forward. He has more than 30 years of experience in association management, lobbying, teaching and consulting which will guide him in working closely with the various association committees and members as well as delegations and legislators whose decision-making roles are critical to the success of tourism in Maryland. Prior to Reel’s appointment at MH&LA/MTC, he has served as a CEO and lobbyist for associations in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.
Reel holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives and has served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia and the faculty at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management. He has served a diverse set of associations from regional trade associations to education associations and describes himself as a pragmatic visionary who understands that timely execution of strategies is the key to turning a vision into reality. He says of his new role, “The diversity of the tourism industry in Maryland has so much to offer residents and out of state travelers. I look forward to growing the awareness of how our associations support tourism professionals and businesses as well as expanding the ways in which we support tourism.”
The role of the president is multi-faceted and includes responsibility for all the day-to-day activities of the two associations, including implementing Board policy, membership development, newsletters, lobbying, representing the groups at state and national meetings and meeting planning—including the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit (previously known as the Maryland Governor’s Tourism Industry Conference), the largest industry conference which McCulloch has helped coordinate for the past 31 years.
In her tenure as President/CEO, McCulloch doubled the size of both the MH&LA and the MTC associations and played an instrumental role in passing legislation which created the Maryland Tourism Development Board. She continues to work to secure adequate funding for the marketing of tourism at the State level. McCulloch is looking forward to building a new home on Eastern Shore with her husband, Champe, as well as spend more time with her grandchildren, traveling and pursuing several hobbies. She shares, “I’m excited for retirement but the tourism industry has been my life for a long time and I plan to remain involved and available as much as the associations and David need.”
Deb Carter, co-chair of the transition committee states, “Mary Jo’s many years of service and dedication have brought both organizations to the forefront in their fields. Her leadership and dedication to MH&LA and MTC have been instrumental in our successes and we wish her much happiness in her retirement.”
Reel will begin his position on April 1 and will assume his formal role as President/CEO on May 1, 2011. McCulloch will continue to serve as President/CEO Emeritus during a transition period.