Ron Ellington made several commitments to use local marketing firms and talent for his new group’s tourism efforts. The requests by the commissioners came from what appeared to be the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s decision to use an Nashville-based firm, Bohan Advertising, for the tourism efforts.
The chamber board did approve in 2012 the hiring Bohan, over the objections of several board members–including me, because it was the recommendation of the TAC subcommittee.
Who made up the subcommittee? Members of the hotel and hospitality industry. In fact, Ellington’s boss had two of the votes. There were three chambers, two restaurants, two other hotel/condo reps and one DIB.
Jehan Clark, Jaco’s
Tom Rasinen, Hilton on Pensacola Beach (owned by Ellington’s boss, Julian MacQueen)
Maria Goldberg, Great Southern Restaurant Group
Maureen LaMar, Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce
Jatin Bhakta, Country Inn & Suites
Alison Davenport, Perdido Key Chamber
Kim Kimbrough, DIB
George Hawthorne, GCAAC
Lorranie Christen, Portofino
Harlan Butler, Innisfree (Julian MacQueen)
The hotel industry and their chamber groups had six votes. They selected the out-of-town firm, which the board simply ratified.
For $5.5 million, history is being rewritten.