I am seeking reelection to an At-Large Board position on the ACCVB Executive committee. I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished, and I look forward to the prospect of continuing to contribute to the success and momentum the ACCVB has built.
Prior to becoming a CVB board member, I initiated the Grand River Valley Regional Branding Initiative, an effort to identify and build a regional brand for the area’s wine region and surrounding communities and activities, elements of which continue to be implemented today. Since becoming a board member I introduced the “Faces of Ashtabula County” video concept and helped the staff with production by identifying participants and drafting the script. I have also served on the Membership Committee, which came up with a plan to increase membership and drive revenue; I also serve on the Wayfinding and Compensation Committees as well. I constantly strive to come up with new and innovative ideas to present Ashtabula to the outside world!
My wife Misty and I moved to Harpersfield because we saw a near-perfect quality of life opportunity—proximity to family, outdoor activities, excellent wineries, local produce, quaint towns with engaged community members, and the chance to create our own entrepreneurial activity using local products. Every year we see new faces and new businesses creating a sense of place that confirms that Ashtabula’s identity is stronger than ever.
Since moving here, I’ve engaged on both business and community levels. I partnered with Red Eagle Distillery to create red e vodka, made from locally-grown concord grapes. Our family has also invested in a vineyard, planting Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in 2016. I have become the Executive Director of the Ashtabula County Land Bank, where we remove blighted properties from the county and help communities build healthier neighborhoods. I also have a role in economic development in consultative roles with the Ashtabula City Port Authority and the Harpersfield-Geneva Joint Economic Development Districts.
I have cherished the role I was given two years ago when I was first elected to the ACCVB Executive Committee. I hope for your vote so I may continue to play a role in building success for Ashtabula’s Tourism!
I am officially asking to be considered to serve on the ACCVB Board of Directors in the At-Large position. I am the co-owner of Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant located in Madison and I live in Austinburg. Prior to owning the winery I worked part time at Debonne’ Vineyards since 1997, first as a bartender and then later as director of special events and advertising. In addition, in 1999 I started the Grill at Debonne’, an outdoor walk-up dining café. I currently continue to work part time at Debonne’ assisting with their advertising efforts and I manage/own the Grill.
I’ve also served on many boards including the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Geneva Business Women’s Group - serving as president on both boards. I’ve also been very involved with and one of the founding members of the Grand River Valley Branding Initiative. I’ve served as the Event Coordinator for the Wine Growers of the Grand River Valley since 2004. In 2003, I started the first Ice Wine Festival in the Grand River Valley, a festival that has put this region on the map as a great producer of quality, award-winning ice wines. Since then I have facilitated additional tasting events including the Cask Tasting and the very popular Turkey Trot. In 2015 I developed the Tours, Tastes & Tapas Trail to help Harpersfield Township raise money for signs that will designate this area the Grand River Valley Region. There are many other events that I have developed throughout the years.
Two of my most enjoyable accomplishments are working in collaboration with other businesses and using my facility to help organizations raise money. Some of my biggest collaborations have been with the Lake County Humane Society with our Annual Woof, Wag & Wine fundraiser and our Dinner & Thrill nights with the Haunted Winery. There are many, many more collaborative events, but I truly believe when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
Many years ago I decided that I would close the winery at 6 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and allow organizations to use our facility to raise money for their cause. We have helped local sports teams raise thousands and thousands of dollars for their schools. I make it a point to work with these kids one on one so they have an understanding of what it’s like to work in the service industry. We also host the annual Howard Hanna Chow Chow in which 100% of all the food is donated, raising more money for to the Children’s Free Care Fund. This is just a few of the charities we work with.
So to answer the question as to why I have an interest in serving on the ACCVB board of directors, simply put, I feel like it is my time to volunteer for a board that does a great job of helping the Grand River Valley Region thrive. I want to continue with my mission and clearly the mission of the board to promote this region as a great place to visit, to work, or to live. I feel that I have good ideas that can contribute to the hard work that has already been done. I hope that you will consider me for the position.
Why do I wish to serve on ACCVB board?
Growing up in an active resort town, I saw first hand how tourism can transform a community into a Mecca of excitement and prosperity. My hometown was not always economically sound. Far from freeways with nothing but natural resources to offer, business would come and go. Once tourism became more of a focal point, the tides turned. Pure Michigan. My family owned a hotel and boat rentals amongst other things, so the importance of serving and providing for visitors was instilled in myself from the earliest days. Today their economy is vibrant, growing, and incredible. We are blessed in Ashtabula County with similar landscapes, untouched and natural, and a glorious lake that must not be taken for granted. It is our duty to show a world too busy and too built up all around us how GREAT “lake life” can be.
As life unfolded, my family and I cruised (aka lived and our sailboat and traveled) for nearly a decade throughout the east coast of the US and into the Caribbean. We saw much of what the world has to offer and know first hand how tremendous the land is here. Rich in history and landscape, Ashtabula county has so much to share. It is an inexpensive getaway and break from the crazy pace of life. Every day millions of people pass by. We can easily draw them in and we can offer an experience that visitors dream of and in doing so, share some light and help our community. It’s a win win.
I am writing to inform you that I will be running for an at large seat on the Ashtabula County Visitors Bureau board. I am a business owner in Conneaut, OH with a background in consulting and would love the chance to contribute to my community by lending my skills to the ACCVB.
My 17 years as an international retail consultant advising clients in transition has given me a breadth of knowledge and problem solving skills that will be valuable in helping to guide the ACCVB forward in new development and future growth. Having lived in large cities, small towns, and tiny villages around the world for work, it has given me a unique perspective on how each strives to attract tourism and encourage commerce.
I am confident you’ll find me a good fit for your needs as a Board Member.
I am writing to advise you of my intention to apply for the At Large board positions you currently have available.
I moved to Ashtabula Co. in 2003 because of the wide open spaces and affordability. In 2006 I began my career as a REALTOR® and I have been serving buyers and sellers in and out of the county since. I get excited when I have the opportunity to tell people about this great county. I promote the county and the hard working people in it every chance I get.
Recently I was working with a client who lived in the Conneaut area for several years and was not aware of the marina in Geneva On The Lake. I came to realize that there’s much more work to be done to get the word out even to our own residents about the assets our county offers.
I believe I have the personal and professional characteristics to be a successful contributor to your organization. I welcome the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you in person or over the phone.
If you have any questions or need additional information please feel free to reach me at 440-218-0475 or Debbiepowell4realestate@gmail.com. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I have served on the ACCVB board over the past 8 years and have been active on various committees. That involvement helped me see first hand the good work the visitors bureau does, and the impact of tourism across Ashtabula County. My previous role as General Manager of the Lodge, and my current role as Managing Partner for Hearthside Grove Lake Erie, form my understanding of tourism in our county. I would like to continue to work with my partners in tourism to meet the needs and interests of our visitors. The impact of tourism in our county will continue to grow and I hope to play a role with the ACCVB as that growth continues.
Don "Woody" Woodward
This letter is to confirm my intention to run for an at large board seat for the Ashtabula County CVB Executive Committee (Board of Directors) for the term 2020-2021.
I have extensive knowledge and background in tourism-related businesses, having grown up in family businesses in the Geneva-on-the-Lake.
I’ve watched Ashtabula County continue to grow as a tourism destination. In my youth, the county struggled to promote only two events, a Covered Bridge Festival and a Grape Jamboree to promote. Ashtabula Harbor and Geneva-on-the-Lake were struggling with negative reputations; five wineries were just starting to earn a good reputation, and Lake Erie was not much of a draw, with stories of pollution and dirty beaches.
In addition to my experience in operating several existing small businesses and starting three others, I also have served on numerous boards and understand the importance of consensus and building relationships. When one community wins in promoting tourism, we all win.
I also believe it’s important to move ahead and look ahead with a glance to the past to see where we’ve been; look back at not only the successes, but also reflect on the failures. Not in order to avoid risk-taking, as truly “nothing ventured nothing gained’ certainly applies to continually modifying and refining tourism promotion and advertising.
Ashtabula County is uniquely poised to continue its growth, with the Grand River Region as the hub of growth and the tourism areas of Conneaut, Ashtabula Harbor, Geneva-on-the-Lake its northern spokes.