ACCVB Annual Meeting


ALBANY, N.Y. (February 26, 2009) -  The annual meeting of the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau at the Albany Institute of History and Art was a celebration of not only Albany's Quadicentennial and rich history, but also of a new brand platform used to market Albany as a destination.

The new brand carries the message for this 400-year-old city on the Hudson: ALBAN.Y. -- An Amazing Discovery.

"In keeping with our celebration," said ACCVB President and CEO Michele Vennard, "two special awards were given." One award was presented to renowned regional artist Len Tantillo for the design of the Hudson 400 -- Celebration of Discovery logo. Hudson 400 is New York's Hudson Valley celebration of European discovery by Henry Hudson and of the river that now bears his name.

The recipient of the second special award is Charles Gehring of the New Netherland Project for his tireless efforts to keep Albany's Dutch Heritage alive. Dr. Gehring is translator and historian of New York's Colonial Dutch Documents.

In addition at the meeting, the ACCVB honored 1st Friday:  Albany with the annual Hospitality Excellence Award, elected new board members and recognized the contributions of 18 Capital Region volunteers, naming them Albany Ambassadors.


                "Albany's tourism industry is an essential component to the Capital Region's economy," said Ms. Vennard. "The Hospitality Excellence Award is unique in recognizing excellence in travel and tourism," she said.

                1st Friday:  Albany is the recipient of the 2008 Hospitality Excellence Award.  "Organized by the Upstate Artists Guild, 1st Friday:  Albany has added vibrancy and focus to Albany's art scene," Ms. Vennard said. 1st Friday:  Albany is a monthly arts celebration which has introduced visitors to the arts in Albany from Lark Street to downtown, from uptown to the collegiate galleries.

                Previous award recipients include the Times Union Center, USS Slater, the New York State Museum and the Albany Tulip Festival.


                The ACCVB elected its 2008 Board of Directors during the meeting. Serving with President Ms. Vennard on the Executive Committee are: Kathy Lanni of Regalo A Gift Experience, chairperson: Michael Gulotty, Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, chairperson elect; June McQuide, CPA retired), treasurer; Richard Kotlow of UHY Advisors, assistant treasurer; and Michael Perrin, Deputy County Executive secretary. Also serving on the Executive Committee are: Toby Strianese, Schenectady Community College, Tracy Metzger, TL Metzger & Associates, Inc. and Christine Miles, Albany Institute of History and Art.

Newly elected board members are: Hedi Hill, Executive Director of Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site and Crailo State Historic Site; and Mark Zimmerman, General Manager of the Holiday Inn on Wolf Road.

Continuing their service on Board of Directors are: Chuck Kuhtic, The Morgan State House; John D'Argenio, Siena College Athletics; Cliff Siegfried, New York State Museum; Steve Hagwell, ECAC Hockey Commissioner; Dave Weiler, Turf Hotels; John O'Donnell, Albany International Airport; Gary Smith, Hospitality Management Group; Michael Snyder, Empire State Plaza Convention Center; Todd Reichelt, Crowne Plaza Albany; and Janet Kaplan, Stuyvesant Plaza.


This marks the 16th year that the ACCVB honored an exceptional group of volunteers, Albany Ambassadors, who provide the Capital Region with new and diverse opportunities to host meetings, reunions, conferences and sporting events.  To receive the designation of Albany Ambassador, one must be an event or committee volunteer and the meeting must realize in excess of 100 room nights.


The 2008 Albany Ambassadors were responsible for bringing over 25,000 delegates and visitors, as well as over 9,000 room nights to the Albany area throughout 2008.

The 2008 Albany Ambassadors are: Master Adam Grogin of Pil-Sung Martial Arts, Event Director for the Second Annual Northeast Open; Trish McGinn, Senior Probation Officer of the New York State Probation Officer's Association;  Dr. Mo Hannah, Chair of the Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody Conference;   Christine Gagnon, MRSA Prevention Coordinator of Stratton VA Medical Center; Clifford Brant of Capital Brass Bugle Corps.; Bill Goichberg, President of the New York Chess Association; Shihan Tony Butler of AAU Karate; Ray Melleady of the New York Public Transit Association, Inc.;   Barbara Deso and Mr. Jim Putman, Co-Coordinators of the Great Council of NYS Improved Order of Red Men & Degree of Pocahontas; Annette Tedesco, Director of the Northeastern Scrabble Tournament; Emma Dickson, coordinator of the Smith-McCarty Family Reunion; William Kearsing, 2008 Convention Chairman for the American Legion, Department of New York; Karl Bieber, President of The United States Bowling Congress-Albany Association; Priscilla McCaughin of the United Federation of Doll Clubs; Dr. Eva C. Joseph, Superintendent, City School District of Albany, championed for the National Urban Alliance to come to Albany; Dr. Joseph Watson, President-elect of the National Council on Student Development; and George Pieper, Treasurer of the NY Schools Data Analysis Technical Assistance Group.


The Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. was established in 1976 to promote the civic and commercial progress of the community through increased development of conventions and tourism. ACCVB currently represents more than 300 member businesses and assists each year in hundreds of regional meetings. ACCVB also operates the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, Henry Hudson Planetarium and the Albany International Airport Information Center. For more information, call 518-434-1217 or 800-258-3582 and/or visit


Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau
25 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY  12207
(518) 434-1217    800-258-3582    Fax (518) 434-0887


Michele Vennard, CEO/President

Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau

518-434-1217 x300,