Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority selects executive director

Carson City Culture and Tourism Authority selected David Peterson as its next executive director.

“This is such a unique and wonderful opportunity for me. To focus all my energy on one city is going to be amazing and to build off the great work that Joel (Dunn) and his team have done to push Carson City to the forefront,” said Peterson after the meeting.

Peterson is currently interim director at the Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, where he started as chief operations and finance officer in September 2014 before becoming deputy director in January 2017. Prior to that, Peterson was director of research at the Nevada Commission of Tourism, Nevada Department of Tourism, from September 2001 to August 2014, and before that he worked as a financial analyst with Caesars Tahoe.

Peterson will take over from Joel Dunn, the former executive director who retired in October 2017, and has been working as a consultant with the CCCTA since then. His contract expires in January.

At the same time, the CCCTA appointed Mike Jones, CCCTA chair, and Mike Santos, board treasurer, to negotiate the terms of Peterson’s employment. A salary range from $106,000-$170,000 has already been approved for the position.

CCCTA on Monday interviewed three candidates. In addition to Peterson, the board interviewed Bethany Drysdale, chief communications officer, Nevada Division of Tourism, and Sherry Rupert, executive director, Nevada Indian Commission, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs.

The three were chosen from among 28 applicants for the job by an application review committee that included Mayor Bob Crowell, Nancy Paulson, interim city manager, Dunn, Mike Jones, and Stan Jones.

The four-person CCCTA was divided between Peterson and Rupert during the discussion after the interviews. Santos cited Rupert’s experience with the Stewart Indian School, which all agreed is a major asset, and her experience writing grants. Karen Abowd and Mike Riggs both supported Peterson, saying his expertise with data is needed as well as some of the ideas he presented for bringing visitors back for more than one visit.

After further discussion, the board voted unanimously to appoint Peterson.

During its regular monthly meeting, CCCTA heard a presentation on the Carson City Off Road from Epic Rides President Todd Sadow.

In 2018, there were 906 registered riders, a 1 percent drop from 2017, which Sadow attributed to the issues with snowpack that forced a change in the course the prior year. But, he said rider retention at 39 percent was good.

“There is no doubt in my mind we’ll have 1,200 riders next year,” he said.

Sadow estimated total room nights from the event were 1,041 and there was a total economic impact of $2.4 million. He said the economic impact has been $6 million since the event started in 2016.

“It is a huge boost to our economy,” said Abowd.


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