Destination 2020 Summit

January 9, 2015 • Museum of commerce • 8:00a - 3:00p

The Destination 2020 Summit is a special, limited-seating, community event on January 9, 2015. The summit will be the first meeting in a series of seven dialogue sessions that will engage opinion leaders in defining areas of importance, opportunities and priorities that will be used as the focus for the six remaining community dialogue sessions, open to the public. Information gathered from these seven sessions will be used to inform a 5-year strategic plan for the Pensacola Bay Area.


  • When: Friday, January 9, 2015
  • Time: Doors open at 8:00; Session starts promptly at 8:30 and adjourns at 3:00
  • Where: Museum of Commerce; 201 E. Zaragoza Street, Downtown Pensacola
  • Parking: 














Insights from the Experts

Names and Affiliations


Facilitated Panel Discussion

Lunch (Food and Refreshments will be provided)

Community Dialogue



A Panel of Industry Experts

Three industry experts will discuss their insights into the tourism industry

Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO, Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI)

During his fourteen years as president & CEO of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), Michael D. Gehrisch has re-energized and positioned DMAI as one of the world’s leading hospitality associations.

With Michael at the helm, the association repositioned itself in 2005 as Destination Marketing Association International (previously the International Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus), to enhance the relevancy and visibility of its members to individuals outside the industry. Michael led the industry’s historic Destination Marketing Accreditation Program initiative, which established a consistent standard for destination marketing operations, and which has accredited nearly 100 DMOs around the globe. 

Michael also guided the Destination & Travel Foundation (the consolidated entity of the DMAI and U.S. Travel Foundations) through two major fundraising efforts, 2001’s Destination Ahead campaign, and the 2009 Destination Excellence campaign, raising over US$6 million for vital destination marketing research and resources.  His keen understanding of tools needed for DMO success led to the development of the groundbreaking 2008 Futures Study, which revealed key need areas facing the destination marketing industry which the Destination Excellence campaign seeks to answer through innovative tools and resources.

Additionally, Mr. Gehrisch currently serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, and serves on the Convention Industry Council Board along with the U.S. Travel Association Board.  In October 2011, Michael was honored with a lifetime achievement award from Niagara University for his long-term and continued leadership within the tourism industry.  Mr. Gehrisch is also proud recipient of the NYSAE Education & Research Foundation’s 2007 Vision Award, Michael has been named one of the “25 Most Influential Travel Executives” by Business Travel News and one of Trade-show Week’s “100 Most Influential People in the Trade-show Business” in 2006, and was ranked among the “Top 25 Most Influential People” in the meetings industry by Meetings News magazine in 2004.

Michael has more than 29 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including working for 13 years as Executive Vice President for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) in Washington, DC and as VP Sales - World Res Technologies. Earlier in his career, Gehrisch held management positions with Marriott and Hilton hotels.

Bill Geist, chief instigator, Zeitgeist Consulting

Bill Geist is the chief instigator at Zeitgeist Consulting, a firm specializing in strategic planning, governance, marketing and legislative issues for convention and visitor bureaus, tourism-focused chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and communities.

Bill is the author of the acclaimed Destination Leadership for Boards and a contributor to Fundamentals in Destination Marketing. He has provided consulting services to over 180 Destination Marketing Organizations since 1995 and is a popular speaker on marketing, trends and customer service across North America. He has also served as a guest lecturer on Internet Marketing at the University of Wisconsin's Small Business Development Center.

Prior to forming Zeitgeist Consulting, Bill served as the President/CEO of the Greater Madison (WI) Convention & Visitors Bureau from 1990-1995. During his tenure, he was the lead spokesperson and co-strategist for the successful public referendum fight to build the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center. He also succeeded in doubling the Bureau's sales and marketing budget and oversaw the launch of one of the Top 25 Marathons in the nation. Before moving to the Madison CVB, Bill led the Kankakee County (IL) CVB and landed the first multi-year contract ever awarded for the American Power Boat Association's National Outboard Championships.

Prior to his Destination Marketing work, he held various management and programming positions with broadcast media in the Chicago area. Bill has served as the President of the Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus and the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Tourism Federation. Past associations have included stints as Vice-Chair of the Wisconsin Governor's Council on Tourism and the past Chair of the Wisconsin Professional Speakers Association. Bill holds an Executive MBA from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Kenyon College.

Will Seccombe, president and CEO, Visit Florida

Will Seccombe is president and chief executive officer for VISIT FLORIDA. In this role, Mr. Seccombe leads the state’s destination marketing organization in partnership with the VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors and the statewide tourism industry.

Mr. Seccombe joined VISIT FLORIDA in March 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer. Mr. Seccombe has over twenty-three years of professional experience including nineteen years in the Colorado tourism industry. His tourism marketing career began as regional sales manager with Vail Associates, Inc. in 1989. He went on to serve as director of marketing for Loveland Ski Areas with Clear Creek Skiing Corporation in 1992, vice president of marketing for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors

Bureau in 1995 and vice president and chief operating officer with PRACO, LTD in 1999. In 2004, Mr. Seccombe founded Revolution Communications, LLC, a travel marketing firm based in Denver, Colorado.

In 2011, Mr. Seccombe was named one of the “Top Twenty Five Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International and is included in Social Media Marketing Magazine’s list of the Top CMO’s on Twitter. Mr. Seccombe has been a member of and served on the leadership boards of numerous national, regional, state and local trade associations and organizations. He is currently active in the following travel organizations:

  • Brand USA Marketing Advisory Council: Vice-Chair
  • U.S. Travel Association Executive Committee: Member
  • U.S. Travel Association Board of Directors: Member
  • U.S. Travel Policy Council: Member
  • National Council of State Tourism Directors: Member
  • Association of Travel Marketing Executives: Member
  • Destination Marketing Association International: Member
  • Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International: Member
  • Member, Travel and Tourism Advisory Council, Miami Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of
  • Atlanta
  • National Western Association: Member

In 1989, Mr. Seccombe received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing

from the Southern Methodist University Edwin L. Cox School of Business. He and his wife, Maryanna, have four children, Elizabeth, Bo, Katie and Caroline.