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DESTINATION MARYLAND The Official Guide To Maryland State Travel
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Board Members 

Maryland State House 

Maryland Tourism Development Board

Executive Committee

Greg Shockley
Mr. Greg Shockley
Owner, Shenanigan’s Irish Pub
Ocean City
Worcester County

A past president of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, Mr. Shockley opened his restaurant 20 years ago. He is a founding member of Ocean City’s Boardwalk Development Association, which implemented $5 million in improvements to the boardwalk. He is also president of Ocean City Development Corporation – a local nonprofit – and a former member of the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s board of directors. He and his wife Susie have twin boys. 


Mr. Charles Schardt photo
Mr. Christopher S. Schardt
Vice Chair - Retail
Senior General Manager
Harborplace & The Gallery, Baltimore
Owings Mills Mall, Baltimore County

Mr. Schardt has more than 30 years of experience in property management and retail operations. Prior to his present position, he was senior general manager at White Marsh Mall and general manager at Towson Town Center, both in Baltimore County. He is on the board of directors for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the Baltimore Waterfront Partnership. A California native, he moved to Maryland 21 years ago.

 Mr. David Meloy Photo
Mr. David Meloy
Merit Hotel Group, Rockville

Mr. Meloy has been involved in the lodging industry for three decades. During that time, he has served in many aspects of the hotel industry from director of sales to vice president of operations. Mr. Meloy currently owns and operates his own company that owns four properties and has others in development. He also has a passion for ensuring that the hospitality industry’s workforce of tomorrow is trained today. 

Mr. Rick Howarth

Vice Chair - Attractions
Park President
Six Flags America
Upper Marlboro
Prince George's County 

Rick Howarth is park president of Six Flags America and is responsible for all park operations, strategic direction and general management for the 131-acre theme and water park located in Bowie, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

A native of Largo, Maryland, Rick Howarth began his career in the theme park industry in 1992 as a finance intern at Wild World while studying at the University of Maryland in College Park. Wild World later became known as Adventure World before being rebranded as Six Flags America in 1999.

Ms. Judy Long Bixler

Vice Chair - Transportation
Oxford Bellevue Ferry 

Judy Bixler is co-owner and captain of the oldest privately-owned ferry in the U.S. - the Oxford Bellevue Ferry which is located in Oxford, MD.  In 1999, she was captain of a 40-foot sailing vessel and in 2000 was a ferry crew member, accumulating sea time for a Coast Guard captain’s license. Judy has been president of the Oxford Bellevue Ferry since 2001.


Members at Large

Mr. Anthony Cohen
Anthony M. Cohen
Founder & Executive Director
Menare Foundation
Brookeville, Montgomery County 

Affiliated since 2000 with the Menare Foundation – a Montgomery County-based nonprofit dedicated to preserving the history of the Underground Railroad – Mr. Cohen is a public historian with expertise in research regarding the African-American experience. He lectures extensively on the subject at universities and conferences across the nation. The foundation runs a farm in Germantown (Montgomery County) as a living-history center that reveals 19th-century plantation life in Maryland.

Mr. James Matthew Neitzey
James Matthew Neitzey
Executive Director
Prince George’s County CVB

Executive Director of the Prince George's County CVB since 1979, Mr. Neitzey is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and holds a master's degree in tourism administration from George Washington University.  He is a past president of the Maryland Tourism Council; former Chairman of both the Maryland Governor's Tourism Industry Conference and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations.  Mr. Neitzey was born, raised, and resides in Prince Georges County.

Mr. Adolph W. Ebersberger  
Mr. Adolph W. Ebersberger
Insurance and Financial Specialist, Retired
Millersville, Anne Arundel County

Mr. Ebersberger has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry.  His agency was among the largest and most successful in the state prior to his temporary retirement in the early 1990s.  He currently provides financial planning services for his clients on a part-time basis.  Mr. Ebersberger served in the Navy as a legal officer.

Ms. Heather Renz
Heather Renz
Director of Marketing
Big Steaks Management
Ruth’s Chris Steak House franchisee (MD, NJ, NC)
Pikesville, Baltimore County 

Ms. Renz has nearly 20 years of experience in management, public relations and marketing in the hospitality and retail industries. She is the Director of Marketing for Big Steaks Management, a restaurant management group with over 500 employees,  which operates nine Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations (in Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina) and the Havana Club, a Baltimore nightclub.  Her past affiliations include positions at Palm Management Corporation and Joseph A. Bank Clothiers.

John Fieseler
Mr. John Fieseler
Executive Director
Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.

Mr. Fieseler has been involved in the Tourism Industry for close to 20 years. Prior to his Executive Director appointment in 1997, he served on the Tourism Council’s Board for six years, including two as president. Executive Director Fieseler represents Frederick County as a member (and past chair) of the Maryland Destination Marketing Organizations.  He serves on the Board of Directors for the 5-state Civil War Trails Organization, the Board of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, the Advisory Board of the Frederick-Washington-Carroll counties “Heart of the Civil War” Heritage Area and is a member of the Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway Advisory Committee. He is a graduate of Fordham University in New York. 

Ms. Wini Roche
Winifred J. Roche
Interim Executive Director
Harford! Inc. 

Ms. Roche has more than 18 years of experience in destination marketing. She has led Harford County’s tourism program since 2006. Previously, she was tourism and marketing manager for the city of Havre de Grace. She also was director of tourism for Dorchester County.  The Maryland Tourism Council honored Ms. Roche with the “Tourism Advocate of the Year” award in 2010 and again in 2012.  She is currently the legislative chairperson for the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations.

Mr. James Grube 

James A. Grube
Woodlawn Estate and Slack Winery
Ridge, St. Mary’s County 

Mr. Grube and his family own and operate this Southern Maryland historic bed & breakfast inn and winery. After purchasing Woodlawn Farm in 2005, he converted the property into a B&B. Slack Winery, on the Patuxent Wine Trail, began making wine in 2009. A tasting room for the winery opened in 2010. Mr. Grube is a former men’s lacrosse coach at Middlebury College in Vermont. 



Picture of Vira Safai
Vira Safai
Managing Partner
Comfort Inn Shady Grove
Gaithersburg, MD  20877

Mr. Safai has 27 years of experience in the hospitality industry and is a graduate of the University of Maryland with an emphasis in Economics and Criminology.  He has used his combined knowledge of the hospitality industry along with his education to lay the groundwork for Platinum Hospitality, Inc., which manages hotels throughout the nation.  For the past 20 years, Mr. Safai has been a Managing Partner for The Comfort Inn, Shady Grove hotel, which has won numerous awards from Choice Hotels and various other business entities. Additionally, Mr. Safai serves on several special committees and sits on the board of various businesses and civic organizations, including: the Montgomery County Conference & Visitors Bureau, Business Advisory Committee to the 1st District Montgomery County Police Department, and Hospitality & Tourism Cluster Advisory Board to Montgomery County Public Schools  to name a few.

Ms. Patricia Heffelfinger
Patricia C. Heffelfinger

Executive Director
Maryland Soccer Foundation
Boyds, Montgomery County 

Ms. Heffelfinger joined the foundation in 1998, helping it to develop the 22-field Maryland SoccerPlex and Discovery Sports Center near Germantown in Montgomery County. The facility, which she has managed for 12 years, hosts more than 650,000 annual visitors. Ms. Heffelfinger has nearly 40 years of experience in marketing, advertising and communications. She started her career with Marriott Hotels and has also held positions within the Federal Government and the banking industry.

Mr. Victor A. Sulin
Attorney at Law - Retired

Mr. Sulin is an attorney, former Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, and has managed a small family business.  He is currently retired and now serves on numerous Boards of Directors including: Tipton Airport Authority, Citizens for Law Related Education for Maryland, and the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics.  He participates widely in civic and political organizations. 

Picture of Alice Lloyd
Alice L. Lloyd
Owner, Bartlett Pear Inn
Easton, Maryland

Mrs. Alice Lloyd is the Owner, Innkeeper, Business Manager and Partner with her Chef husband, of the Eastern Shore’s premier dining and bed and breakfast establishment; Bartlett Pear Inn.   Washingtonian Magazine has just added Bartlett Pear to the Top 100 Restaurants in DC, Maryland and Virginia.  Bartlett Pear also pairs with Smith Island Baking Company (Maryland State Cake) to exclusively create all ice cream shipped across the country for the company.  Alice is currently a member on the Working Committee for the creation and implementation of an Easton Historic District Business Association. Alice and her husband have two young children.

Legislative Appointees

photo of The Honorable John Astle
The Honorable John Astle
Senator, District 30, Anne Arundel County

Senator Astle has served on the Maryland Tourism Development Board since 2004. He has served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. 

The Honorable
Pamela G. Beidle
Maryland House of Delegates, District 32, Anne Arundel County

Delegate Beidle has been a member of the House of Delegates since 2007, serving on the House Environmental Matters Committee and several sub-committees. She is a member of the Joint Committee on Base Realignment and Closure.  Delegate Beidle is the President of the Beidle Insurance Agency and Managing Partner of the Glen Oak Professional Center. A resident of Anne Arundel County, Delegate Beidle is married with three children. She served eight years on the Anne Arundel County Council and four years on the A A County Economic Development Corporation. She has been honored with several professional awards and is a board and/or general member (past and/or present) serving organizations/businesses such as: Leadership Anne Arundel; Hospice of the Chesapeake; Arundel Federal Savings Bank; The Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, West County Chamber and the BWI Business Partnership. 

photo of The Honorable Wendell R. Beitzel
The Honorable Wendell R. Beitzel
Maryland House of Delegates
Delegate, District 1A, Garrett & Allegany Counties

Delegate Beitzel is a recent appointment to the Maryland Tourism Development Board. He is owner of the Accident Bakery and President of Beitzel Enterprises, Inc. 




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