Promoting Colorado Springs a never ending story

Filed under: One on One |

From the tip of Pikes Peak to the city’s rocky bluffs, and the Broadmoor’s golf greens and the Olympic facilities in between, Terry Sullivan knows all the city’s sweet spots.

As president and CEO of Experience Colorado Springs, formerly the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, he specializes in pointing tourists in the right direction.

He recently took time to tell the CSBJ about himself and his job.

* Hometown: Virginia Beach, Va.

* How long have you lived in Colorado Springs: 15 years

* Education: Norfolk Catholic High School; Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.; bachelor’s degree in airline management from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

* A few words about your company: The Convention and Visitors Bureau was founded in 1980 for the purpose of evolving into the premier place for people to find information about what there is to see and do and where to stay in the Pikes Peak Region.

We are funded by a combination of a city local lodging and auto rental tax, some limited El Paso County funds and private revenue from our 600-plus members. Our mission statement is quite simple: “We bring the world to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.”

* Recent accomplishments: Because I served as an Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam Era, I was able to help organize the final flight of America’s Huey Helicopter on what became known as the “Final Journey” reroute to the Smithsonian Museum of History where it now proudly rests as part of a permanent exhibit known as the Defenders of Freedom.

* Biggest career break: I would rate being chosen in July 1990 to become the third executive director of this organization as a career break for it applied all of my lifetime experiences, which included airline and resort sales and marketing.

In addition to this civilian career development I had continued a part-time military career as a National Guard aviator. These experiences applied to this challenge very well.

* The toughest part of your job: Meeting my deadline with the Business Journal.

* Someone you admire: I admire my parents most, both of whom served as Navy officers in World War II . My father served as a naval aviator, flying aircraft off the USS Hornet, and my mother as a naval nurse stationed in North Africa.

My parents taught me the virtue of kindness, hard work and moral values. I am very lucky to have from this lifetime union, four sisters.

* About your family: I have been very lucky to have been married to Lori for 35 years.

We have two children-an older daughter named Deirdre, who, along with her family, Jason and Ann Joy reside in Fort Collins.

Our son Ryan, an avid fly fisherman and his wife, Amy, live in Cherry Creek, where both are youth counselors.

* Something else you’d like to accomplish: Before I end my employment with Experience Colorado Springs, I would like to receive national certification from our parent organization, the International Association of Conventions and Visitors Bureaus.

This program does not presently exist, but should, beginning in 2007 or 2008.

* How your business will change in the next decade: Tourism will continue to change dramatically in the next decade with Colorado Springs becoming more of a year-round destination.

Expect to see continuing technological developments, which go beyond Web sites to Palm Pilots.

Hand-held computer devises will provide menu options, map guides and room availability displays. People will continue to become better educated about their destination prior to arrival.

* What books are you currently reading: “Hell on a Hilltop, America’s Last Major Battle in Vietnam,” by Maj. Gen. B. Harrison. I read approximately 15 travel publications weekly.

* What is the one thing you would change about Colorado Springs: I would like to see a downtown development plan that includes a convention center, which makes sense and has support of our industry. New demand generators are important to our future.