LAUREL HIGHLANDS, PA., (May 9, 2017) – The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau (LHVB) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the promotion of Ann Nemanic to Executive Director effective May 1, 2017.

“Ann brings with her a tremendous amount of experience and understanding of the role the LHVB plays in the economic vitality of our region,” said Michael Langer, chairman of the LHVB Board of Directors and President of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust. “Furthermore, her work ethic and dedication to the tourism industry will provide strong leadership and continued growth for years to come. The LHVB board of directors are both excited for and confident in Ann's leadership.”

“I am both humbled by the confidence placed in me by the LHVB Board of Directors and thankful that I know so many of regional partners and stakeholders who have entrusted the bureau as extension of their marketing efforts over the years,” said Nemanic. “This is a journey we all share and open communication will make the Laurel Highlands an even more enticing destination of choice.  The Laurel Highlands is not only my home, but a place I love and I am proud to help continue its story as such a spectacular region of the Commonwealth.”

Nemanic began her 30 year marketing career in radio as a copywriter and production director.  After moving to Pennsylvania in 1991, she became Director of Sales and Marketing for the former historic Mountain View Inn.  After 14 years with the property, Nemanic moved to destination marketing with the LHVB where she has served as Vice President of Partnership and Business Development since 2010.  Under her leadership, the LHVB’s partnership base has grown from 350 to more than 600.

“Ann has exemplified a high level of professionalism and demonstrated a deep passion and love of the Laurel Highlands,” said Susan Walker, owner of Whitehorse Brewing in Berlin, Pa. “Ann has created opportunities that have grown our family business not only in the Laurel Highlands, but to more urban areas as well.”

“Tourism is about projecting an authentic and inviting image and no one can do this better for the Laurel Highlands than Ann,” added Olga Herbert, Executive Director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

Since moving to the region, Nemanic has been actively involved with several organizations. Currently, she serves as an ex-officio member of the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce and an active board member of Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation Citizens Advisory Board and the Allegheny Trail Alliance (ATA).  

“I believe collaboration and cooperation are critical in the success of our tourism partners.  No one can operate in a silo and expect to succeed,” said Nemanic. 

“Since the 1990’s, Ann has supported the development of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP),” said Darla Cravotta, Chair of the ATA Board of Directors. “Her leadership and skill in navigating the tourism world have provided the GAP with worldwide recognition and her unwavering support of the trail and the trail towns has allowed the communities to grow and prosper.” 

One of the first projects that Nemanic will spearhead in her new role will be the implementation of a data-driven integrated marketing plan. In the summer of 2016, the LHVB partnered with Red House Communications of Pittsburgh to research and implement a fully-integrated marketing plan, focused on target markets within a 200-mile drive radius of the region. 

During the process, the team closely evaluated visitor and consumer data to identify opportunities within the target areas and methods for uniquely branded campaigns. The plan will reach out to various age groups including Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers, as well as families and groups through a variety of targeted mediums.  By targeting visitor personas, the bureau will be able to offer customized messaging and experiences to users with a wide range of interests, using the very mediums that apply to their individual behavioral habits.

“I’m grateful to have a dedicated team filled to the brim with talent and creativity,” added Nemanic. “We have an exciting three year visionary marketing plan that will brilliantly showcase our region.  Every day the office is buzzing with interactive communication among all departments. The cohesive nature and staff’s support is a blessing.”

Nemanic has a bachelor’s degree in English from Bridgewater College and is a Certified Tourism Industry Specialist from Purdue University.  She and her husband, Joe, reside in Greensburg with their daughter, Hannah.  In her free time, Nemanic enjoys riding the Great Allegheny Passage, mystery excursions with her daughter, snorkeling, a good book, and travel. 

Tourism is a major economic generator throughout Pennsylvania. According to the most recent study by Tourism Economics, tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania, generating $39.2 billion annually in visitor spending. In 2014, visitors to the Laurel Highlands region infused more than $1.83 billion, a 2.8% growth from 2013. The travel industry supports 11.6% of the region’s total job count, up from 11.5% in 2013. A 2015 study by the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association reports that for every dollar invested in tourism, Pennsylvania gains $3.43 in tax revenue – which leads to increased dollars for infrastructure, transportation, public safety, education and more.

Note to editors: A high resolution headshot for Ann Nemanic, Executive Director of the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, is available for download here.