Las Vegas Sun

August 22, 2019

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Committee interviewing candidates for state tourism director

Brian Sandoval

Brian Sandoval

Brian Krolicki

Brian Krolicki

CARSON CITY — Interviews are scheduled Monday for eight applicants to be director of the state Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, which brings together several state agencies.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said the interviewing committee will choose three nominees to recommend to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who will make the final selection for the $114,104 job.

Krolicki said the committee is going to take its time to make sure it picks the best applicants and indicated the interviews may extend past one day.

The Legislature abolished the independent Department of Cultural Affairs and combined it with tourism agencies. The new master department oversees the Division of Tourism, the Nevada Indian Commission, the Nevada Arts Council and the Division of Museums and History.

The candidates are:

• Michael Fischer, director of the Department of Cultural Affairs, who has been a board member and chairman of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and the Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

• Larry Friedman, acting director of the state Commission on Tourism, where he has been employed for 20 years. He has managed international and domestic sales efforts, representing the state at trade and domestic shows and led tours of Nevada.

• Dana Bennett, senior researcher in the governor’s office, worked in state government for 18 years and formerly was with the Legislative Counsel Bureau. Bennett is a former member of the Nevada Board of Museum and History.

• Mary Ann McAuliffe, director of development and programs at the American Lung Association of Nevada. She was formerly arts and culture manager at the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority.

• Claudia Vecchio, president of Destination Integration in Dallas, Texas, that promotes tourism and economic development for mid-sized communities. From 2003-2006, she was director of the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism.

• Frank Nocera, who served as a senior executive at Visit Florida, a nonprofit that promoted tourism. He has 30 years public and private experience in destination marketing and management.

• Ralph Witsell, executive director of tourism for the Reno-Sparks Convention Authority until his position was eliminated as the result of budget cuts. He worked 10 years for the convention authority and prior to that was product development manager for American Airlines Vacations in Texas.

• Melinda Klick, who is with the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Authority. Before that, she was internet marketing manager for Resorts West and has 10 years experience in the tourism business.

The interviewing committee is composed of the chairmen of the boards of the Tourism Department, Indian Commission, Arts Council and the Division of Museums and History.

The reorganized department becomes effective Oct. 1.

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