UPDATE: New tourism chief known for energy

Jennifer Whitson
June 20, 2008
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Seattle hospitality leaders say Indianapolis made a good choice in selecting current Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Donald P. Welsh as its new tourism leader.

"[Welsh] has been a driving force in getting the state to talk about tourism and engaging the governor and mayor," said Anthony Anton, president of the Washington Restaurant Association. "His energy is incredible. You're lucky to have him."

Steve Stoddard, CEO of Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited Inc., which owns Palomino restaurant in downtown Indianapolis and six eateries in Seattle, said the cities have some similarities.

"Both do a brisk convention business," Stoddard said. Welsh has done a good job getting local businesses to pitch in on tourism efforts and convincing them of the impact on the entire community, he added.

Current Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association CEO Bob Bedell retires July 31, and Welsh, 52, takes the reins Aug. 1. Bedell earned $353,087 running the association, which has an $11.2 million budget and a staff of 58. An ICVA spokesman said he didn't know what Welsh will be paid.

Welsh's background is in the hotel industry, apart from a short stint in 2000 as president of the Continental Basketball Association. He moved to the Seattle bureau in 2003 as senior vice president for sales and marketing. He's led the organization, with an $11 million budget and staff of 50, since 2005.

Welsh comes aboard as the city attempts to increase its tourism and events prowess with the debut of Lucas Oil Stadium in August and the new Midfield airport terminal in October. By late 2010, Indianapolis also will have an expanded convention center and a new 1,600-room convention hotel complex in its arsenal.

Indianapolis is a "marketer's dream come true," Welsh said in a statement.

More than 100 applicants were screened for the job. Search committee leader and Indiana Pacers executive Jim Morris said Welsh is the right fit.

"When he came here to visit, he displayed a genuine passion for our community," Morris said in a statement.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.