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7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 9 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau Elects 2011 Board of Directors

Media Contacts:
Kelly Schulz/Jennifer Day

New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau Elects 2011 Board of Directors
Bill McCreary of Starwood Hotels & Resorts to serve as Chairman of the Board

NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 24, 2011)— The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) inducted its 2011 Board of Directors today. This esteemed group of business leaders provides the strategic direction for New Orleans’ $5 billion tourism industry and advances the interests of the CVB’s 1,000 members. Bill McCreary, Area Managing Director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, will serve as Chairman of the Board.

Mr. McCreary graduated from Linfield College, Oregon, and holds a BA in Biology and a diploma with honors from the Educational Institute of American Hotel and Lodging Association. He is a Certified Hotel Administrator and holds a Doctorate of Business Administration, Honoris Causa from Webber International University of Florida. A veteran of more than 35 years in the hotel business, he began his career at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco and has served as President of Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, Chairman of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, Director of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, Commissioner for the State of Florida Commission on Tourism and President of the Greater New Orleans Hotel and Lodging Association.

The 2011 Board of Directors Executive Committee:

  • Bill McCreary, Area Managing Director, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (Chairman)
  • Steve Pettus, Managing Partner, Dickie Brennan & Company (Past Chair)
  • Fred Sawyers, Area General Manager, Hilton New Orleans Hotels (Chair Elect)
  • Terry Epton, President, USA Hosts (Secretary)
  • Al Groos, General Manager, Royal Sonesta Hotel (Treasurer)

At Large

  • Iftikhar Ahmad, Director of Aviation, New Orleans Armstrong International Airport
  • Darryl Berger, Owner, The Berger Company
  • Katy Casbarian, Owner, Arnaud’s Restaurant
  • Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, Owner/Physician, Urgent Care Medical Facilities
  • Ronald Markham, President & CEO, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
  • Russell Miller, General Manager, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
  • John Payne, Central Division President, Caesars Entertainment Corporation
  • Bob Brown, Managing Director, New Orleans Business Council
  • Aaron Dirks, COO, Limousine Livery
  • Ron Forman, President & CEO, Audubon Nature Institute
  • Bonnie Helmker, General Manager, Freeman Company
  • Michael Smith, General Manager, Hyatt Regency New Orleans
  • Gil Zanchi, Area General Manager, New Orleans Marriott Hotels
  • Martin Driskell, General Manager, InterContinental New Orleans
  • Amy Reimer, General Manager, International House Hotel
  • Melvin Rodrigue, Chairman, Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
  • Gregory Rusovich, Past President, New Orleans Police & Justice Foundation
  • Doug Thornton, Regional Vice President, SMG
  • Steve Woodruff, Operations Manager, Commander’s Palace

Honorary Positions
Stacy Head, Councilmember, City of New Orleans – District “B” (Jan. 1-June 30)
Kristin Palmer, Councilmember, City of New Orleans – District “C” (July 1-Dec 31)

A nominating committee identified and selected board candidates based on their industry knowledge, experience and diversity. The slate was elected by the CVB's membership at the Annual Business Meeting held on January 24, 2011. In addition to hotels, restaurants, attractions, transportation and cultural economy-related businesses, the board includes leaders from the New Orleans Business Council, the Convention Center and the Superdome.

*Photos available upon request.

The New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is a nationally accredited, 1,000-member destination marketing organization and the largest and most successful private economic development corporation in Louisiana. We create $5 billion in new capital each year- more than any other business sector- by attracting millions of visitors, special events and conventions. The CVB and its members influence thousands of decision-makers and millions of visitors to choose New Orleans through direct sales, marketing, public relations, branding and visitor services at our New Orleans headquarters and offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and four foreign countries. Consistently recognized as one of the top five CVBs in the country, the New Orleans CVB celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. For more information, please visit