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Blue Water Area CVB Gets New Executive Director

Michael Hensley takes the helm for Michigan's Thumbcoast

By Kathy Gibbons

Michael Hensley is the new executive director of the Blue Water Area CVB. || Courtesy of the Blue Water Area CVB

Michael J. Hensley is the new executive director of the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. He succeeds Marci Fogal, who is retiring this year after 25 years but has stayed on to help with the transition.

Hensley comes to Port Huron from the Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB, where he started out in the role of travel expert before taking a position as motorcoach and niche marketing manager. He concluded his tenure there as director of tourism marketing. Hensley graduated from Saginaw Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2017, obtaining his certified travel industry specialist credentials from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2020.

“I think I can provide a unique perspective through my experience,” he says of his new position with the Blue Water Area CVB. “I’ve worked in most facets of the travel sector: sales, visitor services, and marketing.”

Born and raised in Warren, Michigan, Hensley grew up spending a lot of time in Michigan’s Thumbcoast—the area he now represents. “I have family with deep roots in this region, which allowed me to frequently visit this area over the years,” he says. “As a kid, Michigan’s Thumbcoast is where the most impactful and meaningful memories were created. When I came into the travel sector, I always dreamed of working here.”

Hensley says Michigan’s Thumbcoast area has an amazing story. “It’s one of remarkable comeback and ambition to be something great,” he says.

Its most obvious asset is the water that surrounds it, he notes. “It has a permanent stronghold in this region and is something that naturally draws people, especially when folks are looking to vacation somewhere,” Hensley says.

Michael Hensley || Courtesy of the Blue Water Area CVB

Now, he’s excited about helping to build on that attraction. “Its relaxed and laid-back vibe makes for a great environment to vacation, host a meeting, or gather with family and friends,” Hensley says, also noting, “I am excited to be able to accomplish things that complement the amazing travel product that is available in Michigan’s Thumbcoast.”

The Blue Water Area CVB is the official destination marketing organization for Michigan’s Thumbcoast, 140 miles of shoreline dotted with beaches and communities.