Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
RENO — Larry Friedman, a longtime executive with the Nevada Commission on Tourism, is expected to serve as the agency’s director for a little longer than expected.
The commission on Tuesday unanimously affirmed a proposal from the panel’s chairman, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, to keep Friedman in the position at least through the 2011 legislative session.
Friedman was named interim director last month when Dann Lewis announced his resignation. Lewis has already returned to Maine, which had been his home prior to moving to Nevada in 2009.
Friedman, a 20-year NCOT executive who has spent three years as deputy director, has spent most of his career working with the state’s rural tourism leaders. In recent years, he has overseen the agency’s international marketing initiatives.
Working with rural Nevadans has been one his greatest joys of the job.
“These are good, kind, grateful and cooperative people,” Friedman said. “And people don’t realize how attractive the rural areas are to our international visitors. They love the wide-open spaces of Nevada.”
State statutes require the Tourism Commission to deliver the names of three prospective candidates for director to the governor for appointment. Because the governor’s office is in transition and consolidation could be ahead in state government, Krolicki recommended the commission delay seeking a permanent director until mid-2011.
“Given the dynamic of the legislative session and the prospect of consolidation...who knows? The Nevada Commission on Tourism is dynamic and proven, and we have to wait to see what the Legislature does,” Krolicki said. “Larry Friedman already knows our legislative friends and will serve the needs of the agency well.”
Krolicki made his proposal and remarks about an hour before opening the 2010 Governor’s Conference on Tourism at the Peppermill Resort.
Friedman gave the commission some good news about the conference — financially, the event will finish in the black. He said the agency spent $34,000 in seed money and will end with $40,000 after expenses. He said the event is costing about $50,000 to produce.
Friedman said the agency cut corners and reduced costs on several fronts. The agency set up an online registration page, planned one luncheon instead of two, offered no honoraria to speakers, turned the networking mixers into no-host events and secured 18 sponsors, 15 providing cash and three in-kind donations.
About 250 people registered for the conference.
In other business, the commission heard a marketing and advertising research presentation from John Packer of the TNS Global custom research firm, approved a second cycle of rural Nevada marketing grants for 75 projects and heard a proposal from students of the Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, to market the 2011 Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Las Vegas.