(Cincinnati, OH – Nov. 18, 2016) The Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the formation of a task force to lead its efforts in creating the Cincinnati USA Institute for Hospitality Leadership.

The Institute will create an education program for students in grades seven through college, preparing them to be career professionals in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Members of the task force include leaders from various fields of the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as educators. They will oversee the creation of the curriculum and its implementation into schools.
“This group represents the best in our business working with educators to create a program that will give students the tools needed for a successful career,” said Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are a growing industry and we soon will need a larger, deeper and more diverse pool of talent in our region.”

In Cincinnati, the tourism industry brings nearly $4.5 billion in direct visitor spending and supports 74,000 local jobs. In fact, 1 in 14 jobs in Hamilton County is tourism related. From 2011-2015, hospitality and tourism grew 12.5 percent, making it the second fastest growing sector during that time in the state.

“Tourism is a fast growth, big business for our state,” said Melinda Huntley, executive director of the Ohio Travel Association. “Ohio ranks seventh in the nation in the number of jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry, and the members of this task force understand why this initiative is needed.”

Members of the task force range from state and local tourism officials to leaders of hospitality businesses and educators. Jason Dunn, vice president of multicultural and community development for the CVB is leading the task force.

Task force members are:
Jason Dunn
VP, Multicultural and Community Development
Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
Matthew Coffey
General Manager
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza; President, Cincinnati Hotel Association
Terry Benedict
Chief Administrator
Ohio Tech Prep Southwest Regional Center
Sybil Murphy
VP, Human Resources
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
Melinda Huntley
Executive Director
Ohio Travel Association
Bob Bedinghaus
Director of Business Development
Cincinnati Bengals
Fran Santangelo DiBattista
Santangelo Group, Inc.
Sean Rugless
Katalyst Group
Ana Aponte Curtis
Chairman of the Board
National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners
Jordan Vogel
VP, Talent Initiatives
Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
Ann Hobing
Senior Director of Business Growth
Cincinnati Museum Center   
Barbara Hauser
Manager of Ohio Community Relations
Procter & Gamble
Tamiko Mauldin
Senior Recruiter
Jack Cincinnati Casino
Rick Pridemore
School Improvement Consultant
Hamilton County ESC
Ric Booth
General Manager
Duke Energy Convention Center
Kelly Broscheid
Compliance Officer, Career Technical Programs
Cincinnati Public Schools
Julie Kirkpatrick
Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Julian Rodgers
JRODG Productions
Tennel Bryant
Aunty's Homemade Food
Sam Ross
Ionic Communications
Kathleen MacQueeney
Owner/Principal Consultant
KR Hospitality Group
Dr. Ty Stone
VP, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
Sinclair College
Constance Cooper
Southwest Tech Prep Regional Center, Ohio Department of Education
Debra Way
Professor of Business Management
University of Cincinnati
Clermont College
Dr. Karen Lankisch
Department Chair, Business, Law and Technology
University of Cincinnati Clermont College
Scott Holubetz
Cooperative Education Coordinator
Midwest Culinary Institute Cincinnati State
Dr. Shelley Hamler
Retired Adjunct Professor, University of Cincinnati; Retired Assistant Superintendent 
Princeton City Schools
Edet Wettee
PRVLGD Lounge & Bistro
Jim Downton
Executive Director
Sharonville Convention Center
Linda Schaffeld
Interim Dean, Business Technologies
Cincinnati State
Alexis Thomas
Executive Assistant to the President and Executive VP Provost
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Margaret Cheatham
Associate Professor and Academic Unit Head
Business & Economics Department
University of Cincinnati
Blue Ash
Ashley Noel
Human Resources Manager
Delaware North
Yolanda Sherrer
Director of Institutional Effectiveness
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Bleuzette Marshall
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
University of Cincinnati