Ron Melton to serve as interim president
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 3:00pm
(Baltimore, MD) – John Frisch, chairman of the Baltimore Convention and Tourism Board of Directors, announced today that Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Baltimore, has resigned to accept the position of president and CEO of the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau effective May 6, marking a return to Noonan’s professional roots in Texas.
Noonan joined Visit Baltimore as president and CEO in January 2007. Under his leadership, the organization generated historic room night bookings, including six consecutive years of record-setting sales, booking between 450,000 to 525,000 future room nights annually in each fiscal year 2009–2014. Noonan was instrumental in the formation of Synchronicities, a three-city sales and marketing partnership that joins Visit Baltimore with the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau and the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau to assist meeting professionals in maximizing return on investment. He also played a key role in securing key conventions for the City, including IAEE’s Expo! Expo!, while also expanding the city’s diversity meetings – securing key conferences including the 2016 National Urban League Annual Conference and the NAACP National Convention in 2017.
In calendar year 2015 Visit Baltimore set a record for citywide conventions, or groups with more than 1,200 rooms on peak night, welcoming 30 citywide conventions to the City. According to a national study called the Trends, Analysis and Projections (TAP) report, Baltimore has also consistently ranked ahead of the competition in both the areas of future convention bookings and in the conversion of leads into definite business.
During Noonan’s tenure, the Bureau supported and promoted a number of key events that drove large crowds and economic impact to Baltimore, including the bicentennial of our national anthem with Sailabration and Star-Spangled Spectacular and the launch of this year’s inaugural Light City Baltimore festival. The organization expanded its diversity marketing efforts launching both the annual Family Reunion Expo and Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass, and unveiled the ‘My Bmore’ destination awareness campaign leveraging the authentic thoughts and experiences of well-known Baltimore personalities to promote the city as a leisure and meetings destination.
Most recently, Noonan oversaw the creation of the Visit Baltimore Education & Training Foundation, an independent 501 (c)(3) public charitable foundation which awards scholarship dollars to those pursuing careers in hospitality as well as offers hands-on workforce training for Baltimore City high school and college students that leverages Visit Baltimore’s Convention Registration Staffing team. Noonan also oversaw the renovation of the Baltimore Visitor Center to offer a more interactive experience for visitors and provide new opportunities for the building to serve as an event venue in the evening with rentals serving as additional funding for the Foundation.
“Tom has championed Baltimore as the ideal destination for conventions, meetings, group tours, reunions and leisure tourism in an effort to drive economic impact to our City,” said John Frisch. “He has positioned the Bureau for future success by providing sound financial footing and a solid pipeline of future convention business. Tom has assembled a remarkable team that consistently generates superior results for our City. I would like to thank him for his leadership and contributions to the hospitality community and wish Tom and his family the best of luck for the future.”
Before joining Visit Baltimore, Noonan spent 18 years with the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau as a sales, services and convention marketing executive, and for part of that time, led the D.C. Bureau for Dallas.
“It is a bittersweet moment for me and my family as we leave Baltimore to return home to Texas,” said Noonan. “The Mid-Atlantic has become a second home for me and I am proud of what the team at Visit Baltimore has accomplished, especially in this last year. I am confident that the team will continue in their efforts to make Baltimore a premier leisure and meetings destination.”
“The convention and tourism industry is a key economic driver for Baltimore and under Tom’s leadership both have grown significantly,” added Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
Ron Melton, Visit Baltimore’s chief operating officer, will serve as interim president and CEO while a national search is conducted. Melton currently manages the operation of the administrative, information technology, research, human resources, membership, accounting, finance and visitor services of Visit Baltimore. Melton has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry previously serving as executive vice president of services and operations for Travel Portland, director of finance for the Conference Meeting & Assistance Corp. (CMAC) in Dallas, Texas, 10 years as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau and director of finance and administration for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. Melton also served as interim president and CEO for the Dallas Bureau in 2004 and the Denver CVB in 1993.