Business notes: Visit Kitsap undergoes change in leadership
The regional tourism agency Visit Kitsap Peninsula has announced a new leader with the pending departure of?director Patty Graf-Hoke.?
Graf-Hoke has lead the organization since 2009 and planned to step down at the end of April. Her replacement, named by the Visit Kitsap Peninsula Board of Directors, will be Beth Javens, who most recently led the Visit Issaquah organization.
"The Board of Directors is extremely?grateful to Graf-Hoke for her many years of dedication and leadership that transformed the VKP into a regional marketing machine and put the Kitsap Peninsula on the tourism map," said John Kuntz of?Olympic Outdoor Center and the president of Visit Kitsap's board of directors.?According to a statement from Kuntz, Graf-Hoke was instrumental in branding the Kitsap Peninsula as its own tourism destination, especially for outdoor recreation and adventure sports.??
During Graf-Hoke's tenure Visit Kitsap Peninsula?helped establish the Kitsap Peninsula National Water Trails, officially recognized by the U.S. Department of?Interiors in 2018 as part of the National Water Trail System.
Javens has also worked in the tourism marketing industry at the?Richmond Convention & Visitor Bureau, Fairfield Tourism Association, and Greater Bakersfield Convention & Visitor Bureau, all in California, as well as with Cocoa Beach Main Street in Florida.?She will start working for Visit Kitsap on May 1.?
Visit Kitsap Peninsula?receives the majority of its funding?from Kitsap County lodging tax allocations and other donors, including?the?Kitsap Public Facilities District, Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort/PME, The Point Casino & Hotel, Port of Bremerton, the cities of Poulsbo, Port Orchard, Bainbridge Island, Gig Harbor, and Bremerton.?
Three locals honored by economic alliance
The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance's annual meeting in March recognized three individuals and one industry for contributions to the county's economy.?
The three individuals were David Schultz of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Chris rieland of Pacific Northwest Title and Eric Baker from Kitsap County.?
According to an announcement from the organization,?Schultz was recognized for his leadership role regarding the financing, construction and opening of St. Michael Medical Center,?Rieland?for her longstanding leadership and service to KEDA, which included acting as board chair during the great recession and 15 years as a KEDA volunteer, and Baker for his 31 years of work in county government and efforts during 2020 to ensure that federal CARES Act money was spent and distributed appropriately.?
In addition, an industry award was designated for financial institutions that assisted with distribution of federal Paycheck Protection Program funds to Kitsap businesses and organizations. Those recognized included?Bank of America, Cross?River Bank, JP Morgan Chase, KeyBank, Kitsap Bank, Kitsap Credit Union, Liberty Bank, US Bank and Wells Fargo. ?