You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

My favorite part about marketing Amarillo is that I have the opportunity to share my passion for Amarillo with the world. Amarilloans have this deep connection with our city that I’ve never seen anywhere else. Amarillo is now an oasis on the high plains, but it wasn’t always. Early settlers had to accept that they had little to no control over their environment and formed a partnership with the land. When things got rough, they found comfort in their faith and community, but they never gave up on the land. That camaraderie between the land and the people is the base of our heritage and has translated into a deep respect for our area and community that is ingrained in all Amarilloans. The passion we have for our city is almost palpable, and once people see it, they want to get a taste.

What is your favorite part of your job? 

Hands down it’s simply sharing Amarillo with others. I grew up here, so I know this city like the back of my hand. That gives me the opportunity to showcase Amarillo in a way that fits everyone’s interests. I was guilty of thinking, “There’s nothing to do in Amarillo,” in my younger years, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. I live for the opportunity to either change the way people think about Amarillo or introduce them to everything Amarillo has to offer.

What is your favorite event in Amarillo? 

My favorite event in Amarillo is the Good Times Celebration Barbecue Cook-Off. It’s my favorite event because 100 cooking teams provide tons of food, and with a typical attendance of over 6,000, you get to see people from all over Amarillo come together to have drinks and enjoy some of the best barbecue in the city

Ken Hayward has spent nearly his entire career serving at one hotel. But when you start your career at one of the most iconic and historic hotels in Michigan— even the nation—it’s hard to see yourself anywhere else. Hayward, executive vice president and managing director of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was recently named Hotelier of the Year by Historic Hotels of America. This honor comes decades after Hayward was given an unexpected opportunity.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?

 

Texas is bursting with history.  Ever  wonder how the authenticity and legacy of those landmarks are maintained and upheld for everyone to enjoy? It’s thanks to individuals like Pamela Jary Rosser, Alamo conservator. A ninth generation Texan, Rosser was born in San Antonio and has a degree in fine arts and art history. She studied conservation in Italy with a team that worked on the Sistine Chapel, as well as Mission Concepcion and Mission San Jose. Rosser was kind enough to share her passion for history with us.