Faces of Tourism

April Smith

Former Tour Guide, Pimlico Race Course and Urban Ranger, Baltimore National Heritage Area

“One of the original 13 colonies, Maryland has so much history that no matter who you are, there is something here of relevance to you. Not the least of which is horse history. We have the oldest Jockey Club in the U.S. – the Maryland Jockey Club was formed in 1743. We have the second oldest racetrack in the U.S. in Baltimore – Pimlico is also the site of the internationally recognized second jewel of the Triple Crown series of thoroughbred racing. And we have more horses per square mile than Kentucky! I enjoy sharing what I love about Baltimore and Maryland with visitors from around the world.”

Jill Crowther-Peters

Head Docent, Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum

“Tourism means a chance to both learn something new and enjoy the time spend at a destination. For those of us at home, it means a chance to show off everything that we are and everything we have to offer – restaurants, museums, theatres, historic sites, parks and so much more. I find that I have at least one thing in common with everyone who visits the Flag House museum. It’s a thrill to have a visitor stop by, who simply walked by and decided to come in. To share a part of our story with our visitors add one more connection, one more friend to the mix.”

Bradley Alston

Urban Ranger, Baltimore National Heritage Area

“History walking tours are excellent opportunities to explore the rich history of Baltimore and the nation in a relaxed and informative manner. Be it two or twelve, a group tour becomes a moving learning community that, by its end, has collectively learned, shared and contributed to a special experience. The Frederick Douglass/Isaac Myers Maritime Museum is a particular gem on the picturesque and historic Fell's Point waterfront – a story of two African American leaders that is the quintessential American story of triumph over adversity. These are important components of the Baltimore tourism experience that contribute to the city's economic well-being as well as our public face to the world...and ourselves.”

Shauntee Daniels

Executive Director, Baltimore National Heritage Area

“A one-time capitol of the U.S. with a rich maritime, industrial and philanthropic history, Baltimore is a fascinating city with a rich African American heritage. Simply put, Baltimore has something for everyone – arts, history and architecture; but the stories of the people are what makes Baltimore the best place for visitors to learn about and to experience over 400 years of Maryland history. I’m thrilled to work with so many of our heritage and cultural partners to tell the stories of Baltimore.”

Khari Parker & Shawn Parker

Co-Owners, Connie’s Chicken and Waffles

“Tourism provides a glimpse into the culture and lives of others. At Connie’s, we enjoy it when tourists stop by to visit. We appreciate the exchange of love and stories, and embrace the joy that tourists bring to our day. It’s our aim to make certain that tourists learn about the beauty and the historical charm of our wonderful City, as well as the historical landmarks that we operate within.”

Franswayn Hawkins

Training Team Leader, Waterfront Partnership

“Being an ambassador to Baltimore has helped me grow as a person who has made some mistakes in the past. Living Classrooms afforded me an opportunity to help make the Inner Harbor more attractive to visitors, and after excelling in this cleaning role I was able to become a Waterfront Partnership Guide – explaining all the wonderful facts of Baltimore. Being a guide has helped me grow as a person and professionally, because after two years of making people happy I was promoted to Team Leader. Being a Waterfront Partnership guide has changed my life forever and it allows me to leave a lasting Baltimore memory for everyone that comes to visit.”

Dr. Joanne Martin

Founder and Director, National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

“Tourism is important to me because it can be a means through which one attains a real-world education in various subjects such as Arts, Architecture and History. As the owner of the first-ever wax museum of African American history in the nation, I take pride in being able to highlight the bountiful legacy of African Americans as well as ensuring that anyone who visits our museum leaves it knowing more than they did when they entered.”

Michelle Torres

Corporate Director of Marketing, Phillips Seafood Restaurants

“Tourism matters to me because it gives us the opportunity to share our culinary traditions and welcoming hospitality of our Maryland Eastern Shore roots. Through this industry, I have had the opportunity to meet new people, inspire new adventures and create memorable experiences centered around the Phillips family tradition. How amazing is that?"

Kim Bethea

Team Leader, Baltimore Orioles

“Orioles Baseball is about having fun and bringing people together. In my role as team leader overseeing several ushers and ticket takers near Gate H on Eutaw Street, I remind my team of our goal for every fan to enjoy their time at the ballpark and want to come back, win or lose. We are proud to represent the Orioles and the City of Baltimore - and I want our visitors to be proud to tell their friends and family that their visit to Charm City was perfect. And I’ll laugh with - and even dance with - visitors to make sure when they go home they tell their friends how they can’t wait to get back to Baltimore and Camden Yards!”

Allison Perrelli

Owner, Luigi’s Italian Deli

“After ten years of being an international convention manager I was looking for a change of pace. The opportunity for Luigi’s presented itself and the timing was right to do a complete 180 of my career. With no restaurant or food industry experience I took a leap of faith and landed on my new path. Being a business owner in my town gives me a unique sense of community and drive. Growth in tourism allows us to be successful. Shop small and Shop Hampden!”

John Lee & Terrence Brooks

Doormen, Sagamore Pendry Hotel

Terrance Brooks (right):
“I believe that being a doorman at the Pendry Hotel is like being an ambassador for the whole city of Baltimore. I have been in the hotel and tourism industry for well over 30 years. I try anticipating and address all guests needs whether they are entering the hotel or the Fells Point area. I enjoy having the opportunity to be the first and last impression for visiting guests, and I try my best to treat everyone like a VIP. I look forward to working in this industry for many more years to come.”

John Lee (left):
“I am the evening doorman at the Sagamore Pendry hotel in Baltimore, the best hotel in America! I have been in the tourism industry for about 25 years and it has been great for me and my family. I get to meet people from all over the world and if you are a people person like I am, I believe working in the tourism industry is a phenomenal way to make a living."

David Williams

Retail Supervisor, Centerplate

“I have been working in customer service and hospitality ever since I graduated from high school. This wasn’t always the career path I wanted for myself, but as I learned and grew in the industry, I really started to enjoy my work. It’s fun to meet people from very different parts of the world and to learn things about those places and cultures. But the most satisfying thing is when I can turn a guest frown into a smile, whether it be from my words or actions. To have a guest walk away thinking about how I welcomed them, how happy I make them feel, and how, ‘the next time I come to Baltimore I’m coming here again,’ that feeling is how I know I picked the right profession for me.”

Terry Keemer

Public Safety Officer, Baltimore Convention Center

“As part a part of the Baltimore Convention Center's Public Safety team I've had the unique opportunity to meet a large and diverse number of people of all ages and backgrounds. Every day I get to share Baltimore’s wonderful attractions with our many visitors. At times I even find myself surprised by all we have going on right in our own back yard. I take pride in fact that I know tourists will make a return visit after experiencing what we offer.“

Letta Moore

Owner, KSM Candles

“Tourism matters to me because in addition to the financial benefits it brings into a city or state, tourism also bridges the gap between cultures and people. As a small business owner in Baltimore, I get to meet people visiting from all over the country who are in town to visit family or attend a convention. I’m honored to have my candles serve as a little piece of Baltimore that people can take back home with them to remember their visit.”

Phil Han

Owner, Dooby’s, Sugarvale & Sundays

"Baltimore is an amazing city to explore. As residents of South Baltimore, we try our best to take advantage of the many attractions the city has to offer. On any given day, you can find our family of four (5 if you can’t our energetic dog Teddy!) perusing the JFX Farmers’ Market, getting inspired at the Baltimore Museum of Art, enjoying tacos in Fells Point, checking out our toddler’s favorite animals at the Maryland Zoo or National Aquarium, or walking our dog around Fort McHenry. It doesn’t take much effort to find something fun to do regardless of the day of the week or even the weather, especially as the city offers so many affordable (and often free) events. While attending an O’s or Ravens’ game is a must, there truly is so much more to experience here."

Ron Heneghan

Director of Education, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company

“I get to bring people together in the heart of downtown in a historic and revitalized gorgeous space – that’s what tourism is, for all of us at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. We hire professional actors, designers, directors, choreographers, and teaching artists from the Baltimore-DC region. Then, we bring in students and teachers from around the mid-Atlantic, who enjoy a thrilling story and a deeper understanding of the classics. Our talkbacks with our audiences allow them extraordinary access to these talented, creative, and hard-working artists.”

Nora Campbell

Director of Sales, National Aquarium

“I started my tourism career 20+ years ago as a mate onboard the Water Taxis, helping to dock the boats, collect money and give tourists advice on where to go and what to do. That is when I caught the tourism bug. At the time I was earning my degree in history at UMBC and while I was on the boats, I started learning about the amazing contribution Baltimore played in our country’s history. It was also during this time that I fell in love with Baltimore and wanted to share the message of this great City with everyone that I met.

Today, I still love how tourism can connect us to our past, but I also value the connection with other communities and cultures that travel provides. The more we travel, the more we realize what we have in common with one another. I can think of few greater endeavors than to bring people together.”

Arch Watkins & Mark McLaughlin

Co-Founders, Old Line Spirits & the Ready Room

“We love hosting folks from out of town looking for a side adventure in the city. We’ve found that visiting tourists really enjoy spending time at Old Line, whether it’s around a game or if they’re just looking for a unique experience. Offering a positive, engaging experience is key to getting Old Line’s name spread in a positive light outside of our home market.”

Leander Douglass

Maitre’d, The Bygone

“I have been working in the hospitality industry since I was 15 years old when I started as a busser. I think of my job as an ambassador for the Bygone, which makes me the ambassador of Baltimore by extension since we get a lot of people who are visiting from out of town. The Bygone has some of the best ambiance in Baltimore, so I’m happy to serve as the guide to introduce people to that.”

Kelli Singleton

Executive Housekeeper, Days Inn Inner Harbor

“The spirit of service was instilled in me at a young age as I used to scrub the marble steps of my neighbors’ row houses. So, it was only fitting that as the hospitality industry gained momentum in the late 90’s that I would start my career doing what I loved to do – serving others. I wake up every day, not to go to work but to do something that I love. From starting out as a greeter at the National Aquarium directing excited young faces to the dolphin show, to my current position with the Days Inn Inner Harbor, where my team and I get to engage with our guests on a level that is genuine and sincere. We will treat you like a family member that has come to visit. Working in the travel and tourism industry allows me the opportunity to let my personality shine and create memorable moments that I hope bring a smile to the faces of everyone I meet every day.”