Visit San Antonio Names New Board of Directors

Richard Oliver |

Visit San Antonio, a public-private nonprofit created in September to replace the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, has named its inaugural Board of Directors.

The initial board is made up of 21 members, including a mix of city officials and appointees, tourism and hospitality influencers and public representatives who will serve anywhere from one- to three-year terms. The group, which will begin meeting regularly in November, was selected from a lineup of more than 60 applicants.

Visit San Antonio, a 501c6 nonprofit, began operation when the San Antonio City Council approved a management agreement with the new entity Sept. 29. Earlier in the year, Mayor Ivy R. Taylor appointed five members to the board who served as the Nominating Committee for the eventual final designees.

“Visit San Antonio is positioned today to be one of the stronger destination management organizations in the country,” board chairman Frank Miceli said. Miceli, a Senior Vice-President of Sales and Franchise Business Operations for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, added, “This is a great lineup of thinkers and doers, and will provide positive and entrepreneurial input in how we go about things. It was a tough consideration process for the Committee, but they did a great job and we are excited about what can be accomplished as we move forward.”

In addition to Miceli, the original members appointed by Taylor included District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran; Marise McDermott, President and CEO of The Witte Museum; Rusty Wallace, Regional Vice-President and General Manager at Omni Hotels; and Tim Sullivan, General Manager of Marriott Rivercenter/Riverwalk Hotels. Also taking part was Casandra Matej, President and CEO of Visit San Antonio.

“We look forward to working with these innovative and influential San Antonio leaders,” said Matej, Executive Director of the former San Antonio CVB. “This group will help us drive strategy, as well as become our biggest advocates and ambassadors for San Antonio and the travel industry.”

Added Viagran, a vocal proponent of the transition of the CVB to a public-private nonprofit, “The great diversity of attractions in San Antonio, growing almost by the day, makes our city one of the top tourism destinations in the world. By putting together this talented and similarly diverse board, we have given Visit San Antonio a wonderful foundation to be the strong and proactive organization we need.”

By design, the new Visit San Antonio board includes selections from several designated sectors, including 41 percent who work downtown, 18 percent each from the West Side and North Side, and 9 percent each from the East Side and South Side. The Broadway corridor is represented by 5 percent of the board.

Forty-six percent of the board includes large-business representatives and 27 percent each are from small businesses and the City of San Antonio:

  • Appointment by Mayor – Councilwoman Rebecca J. Viagran, District 3, and Councilman Alan E. Warrick, II, District 2.
  • Appointment by City Manager – Sheryl Sculley, City of San Antonio
  • Hotel and Lodging – Dan King, Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa; Rusty Wallace, Omni Hotels and Resorts; Tim Sullivan, Marriott River Center / River Walk.
  • Leisure Attractions – Carl Lum, SeaWorld San Antonio; Marise McDermott, The Witte Museum.
  • Restaurant Culinary Industry – Ruben Sepulveda, Don Pedro’s / San Antonio Restaurant Association.
  • Heritage / Preservation – Michael Cortez, La Familia Cortez Restaurants.
  • Arts / Culture / Music – Henry Brun, Richport Enterprises.
  • Transportation – Jeff Arndt, VIA.
  • Chamber – Denise Rodriguez-Hernandez, True Flavors Catering.
  • At Large (3) – Pat Frost, Frost Bank; Frank Miceli, Spurs, Sports & Entertainment; Cristina Aldrete, North San Antonio Chamber.
  • President/CEO – Casandra Matej, Visit San Antonio.
  • Ex-Officio Voting – Mike Sawaya, Convention and Sports Facilities; Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.
  • Ex-Officio Non-Voting – Tom Jones, City of San Antonio – Aviation Department; Major General Juan Ayala, City of San Antonio – Office of Military Affairs.