Pinellas’ tourism guru takes new job

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After more than seven years on the job, the executive director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is moving on.

D.T. Minich announced the news Monday morning that he is leaving Pinellas County to work for the Kissimmee Convention Visitors Bureau effective Aug. 15.

“As you might imagine, this was not an easy decision to make,” Minich said in an email sent out Monday morning. “I have many fond memories of my time here, and I’m extremely proud of all the accomplishments we have achieved together as an industry. I’m also extremely proud of my incredibly talented and dedicated CVB staff, whose hard work and dedication is responsible for the amazing leaps we have made in Pinellas County tourism.”

Prior to coming to Pinellas, Minich led the Beaches of Fort Meyers and Sanibel Visitor and Convention Bureau. Minich replaced Carol Ketterhagen, who retired after leading the county’s bureau for 15 years.

Deputy Director David Downing will be in charge after Minich leaves.

Minich said Downing “has worked tirelessly alongside me every step of the way.” He praised Downing’s insight, talent and leadership “I’ve come to rely on in every aspect of managing this organization.”

Pinellas County’s tourism industry celebrated a record-setting year in 2013 and all signs indicate 2014 will be a repeat of that success.

“Although I’ll miss all of you greatly, I take heart in knowing that I’m leaving the local tourism industry poised to continue in record-setting territory, with an incredibly strong brand and every-growing international reputation,” Minich said.