The Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau has selected Dave Herrell of Jacksonville, Florida, as its new president and CEO, it was announced Tuesday at a news conference at Modern Woodmen Park, Davenport.
Herrell has an extensive sports background, having served in sports-related positions in Jacksonville; Phoenix, Arizona; and Nashville, Tennessee.
Among his proudest accomplishments, he said Tuesday, was helping to bring the NFL’s Houston Oilers to Nashville, where they became the Tennessee Titans.
Herrell succeeds interim president and CEO Lynn Hunt, who was previously the vice president of sales for the bureau, and Joe Taylor, the longtime CEO and president, who now serves in a similar role in Evansville, Indiana. Hunt will be returning to her former position.
Taylor retired in March after serving 20 years as president and CEO of the Quad-City bureau.
Taylor began his duties in Evansville on June 4. Herrell said he plans to reach out to Taylor soon.
“I know I’ve got big shoes to fill,” Herrell said. “I do want to say thank you to Joe.”
Originally from St. Louis, Herrell has a background in destination and brand marketing, administration, operations, strategic planning, business development fundraising, communications and nonprofit management in 20 years in travel-related fields.
He will officially begin at the bureau on Oct. 8.
Nancy Ballenger, a past board chairman of the bureau and current board member who headed up the search committee, saluted Herrell’s passion as well as his ability to engage people and build consensus, understand the Quad-Cities’ as a unique destination and further unlock the potential of the Q-C brand while also embracing change.
“He exceeded all of our expectations,” Ballenger said. “He was by far the unanimous choice.
“Dave is a visionary leader with a proven track record in working closely with city government, community stakeholders and in building strategic partnerships in sports, music entertainment and cultural events.
“He’s a leading marketing and event management professional.”
Herrell will meet bureau members at the annual meeting Wednesday morning at Rhythm City Resort in Davenport. “It’s great to be with you today,” said Herrell as he looked out at the sunny Tuesday at the ballpark. “What a beautiful backdrop on the Mississippi River.”
Herrell said he is glad to be back in the Midwest and saluted the warmth and hospitality he’s encountered in the Quad-Cities since his arrival.
Herrell has been between jobs since last April, when he officially left his position as Jacksonville’s sports and entertainment officer. It was a position he had held since 2014, earning $155,000 annually according to a Tennessee newspaper.
It is the Quad-City bureau’s policy not to discuss what his new salary will be.
“The commitment to growth and development is what really kind of drew me to this opportunity,” Herrell said. “I have never met a group of people who cared more about this destination. I am excited about that. It’s fun when you take on new career opportunities and you get to relocate to new and exciting areas but you get to work alongside people that have an authenticity and they genuinely care. I am really looking forward to that.”
Herrell, whose accomplishments include helping both elevate the Fiesta Bowl to the college football playoffs and bringing the 2017 national championship game to the bowl in Glendale, Arizona, during his time as senior director of sales, marketing and strategic partnerships for the Arizona Sports Foundation, said he left the Jacksonville job to pursue other opportunities.
These days, he said, he lives by a statement: A lot has been accomplished and a lot more can be done.
“I firmly believe that in this community,” he said. “Certainly, there’s opportunities to do more with our partners and our stakeholders. And I am committed to doing that.”
Herrell described himself as very competitive. “We will have a common vision, a strategy and a focus,” he said. “We will really have three things that we will focus on — people, partnerships and personality. That is what will drive this organization moving forward.”
Herrell also pledged to work with the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
“CVBs are economic-development engines,” he said. “They are organizations that can do a lot to move the needle. And we will move the needle in this region and in these communities. We will do it together.
“This is a team-based approach,” he added, noting it will be fun and exciting. “But it’s an opportunity that’s very unique, and we will seize it. We will make this a premier destination.”