March 2, 2009 Minutes
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March 2, 2009 Minutes 

Maryland State House 


March 2, 2009



NOTE:  Due to inclement weather, meeting was held via conference call instead of MDOT as planned.  Participants as follows:  MTDB:  Paul Bales, Connie Del Signore, Delegate Ann Marie Doory, Senator Jennie Forehand, Kelly Groff, Mike Haynie, Gary Jobson, Peggy Maher, Delegate James Mathias, Dave Meloy, Sam Parker, Khaled Said, Chris Schardt, Greg Shockley, Matt Taylor, Andy Vick.  EDC:  Tom Bonnett, Paul Hartgen, Joe Lespier, Mary Jo McCulloch.  MDMO:  John Fieseler, Matt Neitzey, Sandy Turner.  DBED:  Margot Amelia, Pete Chambliss, Liz Fitzsimmons, Bill Pencek, Denise Reed, Marci Ross, Andrea Vernot.  Stanton Communications: Lori Russo.


Minutes from the November 10, 2008 meeting were approved unanimously.  Change requested by Sam Parker incorporated into final document on record.

Ms. Ramsey will address the Board as guest speaker at our next Board meeting to be held in June at the Maryland Department of Transportation. 


Ms. Vernot gave DBED leadership change update due to resignation of Secretary David Edgerley.  Governor appointed Mr. Christian Johansson as the new Secretary of DBED.  Secretary Johansson is looking forward to addressing MTDB at a future meeting and participating in various tourism-related events to further familiarize himself with the industry.  His priorities include efforts to restore business confidence while growing and sustaining the businesses we have in Maryland; strengthening, rebuilding and restoring the ties to the business community as a voice for Maryland business and a voice for policy initiatives. 


Legislative Affairs – (BRFA & Budget discussion) – BRFA (Budget Reconciliation Finance Act) is the vehicle used to insure a balanced budget.  A lengthy discussion followed regarding BRFA.  Short summary (not all inclusive) listed below:

Testimony - Maryland Citizens for the Arts & Maryland Film Coalition will testify against BRFA at their respective upcoming Senate/House hearings.  Mary Jo/MTC Council will attend and Delegate Doory will be in attendance at the House hearing on March 3 as a representative of the Ways and Means Committee.  Dave Meloy met with the Speaker of the House and the Senate President and Delegate Mathias spoke to Chairman Conway on our behalf.  Greg Shockley testified this past weekend in Ocean City. 

Action/Suggestions re: Budget Process - Delegate Doory suggested that, when reaching out to legislators, we emphasize budget cut effects on jobs in the tourism/hospitality industry.  Greg Shockley stressed the need to constantly educate legislators.  Paul Hartgen and Paul Bales suggested  a grass roots campaign and indicated the importance of being consistent and organizing our messages while working with DMO’s, chambers, and Parks and Recreation to express support.    Dave Meloy stated that we should start contacting legislators in late summer. Connie DelSignore raised the point that Federal money is coming and emphasized the need for legislators to lobby on our behalf for our share of those funds.

Margot expressed her appreciation to everyone who contacted their legislators and/or testified at the House and Senate hearings.  She reiterated that OTD cannot advocate for our budget - those types of communications cannot come from our office.  Dave reminded everyone that the Board can advocate where OTD cannot, which is one of the major responsibilities of the MTDB members.  It was also noted that, through the first six months of the fiscal year, tourism is still outperforming all other tax codes.

Strategic Planning/Marketing – Margot – the main focus has been on Board funding and finance.  They are building on goals and objectives and focusing on the development of a unique communications platform demonstrating how consumers view Maryland.  Evaluation has started on Welcome Center experience.  Working to make the grant program more effective and efficient.  Goal is to have another session in the fall (this year). 

Workforce Development – Bill Pencek indicated, since dynamic has changed, they are taking time to re-evaluate the goals of the Workforce Development Committee.


Andy Vick – Maryland Arts Day successful with over 400 attendees
Delegate Mathias – Stimulus package updates can be found on
Gary Jobson – 17 programs have cancelled in last few months.  Keeping in touch with Peter Franchot on stimulus. 

Matt Taylor – Wisp had one of the best winters yet. 

Margot attended the National Council of State Tourism Directors meeting along with
25 State Tourism Directors in attendance.  US Travel Association gave presentation on how the economy is impacting the meetings and incentives market.  US Travel Association working to change perception and stress the importance of meetings to the business industry. 

Green initiative – Efforts are ongoing to prepare a green certification program for tourism industry to reduce environmental impact and promote “green”.

OTD Staff updates:  
Liz Fitzsimmons - Destination Maryland going to press.  Website off-site hosting move is currently in procurement process.  Working on more robust DMO/OTD Marketing program
(examples of new marketing material included in folders mailed out after the conference call).  Margot continues to be the voice of the Maryland Minute radio campaign. 

Marci Ross – complete Product Development Summary included in folders.

Pete Chambliss – We participated in the Harrisburg travel show and ran out of literature…which is a good thing! 


Tuesday, June 9, 2009  Maryland Department of Transportation/Hanover, MD
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009 Strategic Planning Session (Location TBD)
Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 Ocean City, MD (during MTTS)