dutchess-county-tourism.JPGPoughkeepsie, N.Y. - Tom McQuade, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC), today announced the election of Mary Kay Vrba as an ex officio member of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, and also announced her promotion to Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism (DCT), effective immediately. She has served as the Director of Tourism since 2006. Tourism has a significant economic impact in Dutchess County, where we welcome 4.1 million visitors annually, who spend $451.5 million on lodging, food, shopping, and area attractions. Dutchess County is located in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. McQuade noted, "You can't overstate the significance of the tourism industry to our local, regional and state economies. Here in Dutchess, tourism sustains 8,717 jobs, which translates into $244.7 million in payroll. Mary Kay is absolutely the right person to lead our continuous efforts to attract more visitors. Under her leadership, more tourists are vacationing in Dutchess, and they're staying longer, which is demonstrated by our healthy occupancy tax revenue of $1.9 million in 2011. This is an increase of 5.63% over 2009. She's a driving force in the industry, and we're delighted to recognize her long time leadership and vision for the future." Tom McQuade, a business coach, is proprietor of The Entrepreneur's Source in Poughkeepsie. Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro stated, "Congratulations to Mary Kay Vrba on her promotion to Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism and her new role as a Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation Board Member. Mary Kay is one of the most respected tourism officials in New York State. Under her leadership, Dutchess County Tourism's efforts have funneled millions of dollars every year into our local businesses, creating jobs and generating sales tax dollars. Having Mary Kay closely involved with our 4R Future economic development efforts, together with Cathy Maloney as the head of the DCEDC, and Ron Hicks as the County's Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Planning and Development, we have a great team focused on greater economic stability and growth for Dutchess County." President and CEO of the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, Andrea Reynolds, who also chairs the DCEDC Tourism Committee, said, "This promotion is certainly a testament to Mary Kay's skills and expertise. The tourism industry is comprised of private businesses, historic sites, arts venues, government, parks, farms, restaurants, and a host of accommodations and other attractions. Mary Kay is an expert at facilitating partnerships and creating synergy between all of these groups. She sees the future's greatest possibilities, and is able to link together all those who provide hospitality, recreation and entertainment to our 4.1 million visitors. Her dedication and extensive knowledge of our entire community and those who visit here ensure tourism will remain a vital sector of our economy." Mary Kay has been with Dutchess County Tourism since 1994, serving as Assistant Director of Tourism and Group Tour Manager. Previously, she was the Hudson River Valley Association's Director of Tourism, and partner in Crossroads International Management. Mary Kay was also Dutchess County's Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Conservation. Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Catherine A. Maloney said, "Mary Kay is tireless in her enthusiasm for guiding tourism locally and regionally. Her far-reaching industry knowledge is evident in her interactions with our leaders, partners, visitors, and staff. I look forward to working with her to develop future programs." Mary Kay is partnering with Adventure Junction and Ulster County Tourism to present the first Hudson Valley Outdoor Recreation Expo on June 2 and 3 at the Poughkeepsie waterfront, created expressly for outdoor enthusiasts. Under her auspices, the BBG&G Advertising and Public Relations firm created the award winning marketing campaign "Simple and Sophisticated. You Deserve Dutchess." She also expanded the Farm Fresh One-Day Getaways program, bringing more than 4,000 visitors to Dutchess since it began in 2007, with each visitor spending an average of $80 per person on their trip. At New York University, she's been an adjunct instructor in their hospitality program. She recently developed the "Creating Culinary Adventures" tourism packaging conference. She serves on the planning committee for the 2012 DCEDC Annual Breakfast on May 3 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. She holds an MS degree from George Williams College and a BA from the College of St. Mary. Receiving full Certified Tourism Planner accreditation in 1991 from the National Tour Foundation, she's a member of SKAL, Travel Industry of America, National Tour Association, and American Bus Association. She resides in Beacon.

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Started in 1978, the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is a private, nonprofit organization serving the cities, towns, and villages of Dutchess County. Dutchess County Tourism was founded in 1984 and is a division of the DCEDC, and both receive funding support from the County of Dutchess. DCEDC supports and promotes business development in Dutchess County through a variety of business attraction, expansion, grants and entrepreneurial development programs. Their offices are located at 3 Neptune Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie and their websites are http://ThinkDutchess.com  and www.DutchessTourism.com   Contact: Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation 3 Neptune Rd Poughkeepsie, New York 12601 845-463-5400