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Honoring Tradition

New Mexican Ed Pulsifer keeps history at the forefront of Santa Fe's La Fonda on the Plaza

By Beth Buehler

Ed Pulsifer || Photo by Tony Mitchell

When Ed Pulsifer received a call about the director of sales and marketing position at La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, New Mexico, it was a no-brainer for him. Dating back 101 years, the hotel is a major local attraction known for taking great care of its staff, with several employees working there as long as 30 to 40 years. He joined the team 11 years ago and describes it as “the best place I’ve ever worked.”

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Pulsifer brings 38 years of hospitality sales and marketing experience to the table and currently serves as a board member for the New Mexico Hospitality Association and Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce. The New Mexico Hospitality Association inducted him into the New Mexico Tourism Hall of Fame in 2019.

Prior to joining La Fonda, Pulsifer was vice president of sales and marketing for Heritage Hotels & Resorts and vice president of convention sales for Visit Albuquerque. Little did Pulsifer know, his new job at La Fonda would intimately entwine him with the property’s rich history and earn him a second job title of hotel historian.

His interest in the hotel’s history began after the Newcomers Club of Santa Fe called to schedule a field trip to La Fonda to learn about its 2013 renovations and large art collection. Pulsifer started doing historical research on the hotel and “by the eighth tour, kept learning and talking to more people,” he recalls. “I was getting so many requests and couldn’t say no.”

By September 2014, eight people were recruited to meet with a facilitator for several months to create an official tour program of the property, and then asked to invite their friends. By the following spring, 50 volunteers absorbed the content for a July kickoff. Today, two schedulers coordinate the volunteers and book tours that can host up to 12 guests. “Since the launch, 8,000 people have taken our tours. It is like a museum-quality docent program, keeping history alive,” Pulsifer says.

“La Fonda is a very unique, special hotel,” he observes. “There is a soul and energy that you feel when you walk in. You want to be here. Historic hotels represent a region and have such a sense of place.”