June 2 Tribute "On The Grass, Under The Stars" to Feature Many
May 3, 2006 - In honor of John A. Marks' 19 years selling "Everybody's
Favorite City," a "Thank You John" evening is being planned for Friday,
June 2, at AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza. All proceeds
will benefit the SFCVB Education & Research Foundation, a 501[c]3 organization.
Marks will retire on June 30, 2006 as president and CEO of the San
Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB).
Many special guests will make appearances in this tribute to the man
that former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. called "the best CVB
CEO in the country - bar none."
The evening will be held "on the grass, under the stars," with a reception
at 6:30 pm and dinner at 7:30 pm. Bob Sarlatte will be the master
of ceremonies. Dick Bright and his Orchestra will provide musical
The Honorary Committee is made up of Mayors Art Agnos, Willie L. Brown,
Jr., Frank Jordan and Gavin Newsom. The event co-chairs are Pat Gallagher,
president of Giants Enterprises and Rick Swig, president of RSBA &
Associates and 2005/2006 SFCVB chairman.
Tables of 10 are $2,500 for "John's Friends," $5,000 for "John's Good
Friends" and $10,000 for "John's Best Friends." Individual seats
are available for $250. All donations are tax deductible. To purchase
tickets and for event information, telephone 415-227-2626 or e-mail [email protected].
was appointed president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors
Bureau in September, 1987. The Bureau, founded in 1909, is San Francisco's
official visitor promotion agency, working to enhance the city's economy
by promoting and selling San Francisco as a site for conventions and tradeshows
and as a destination for pleasure travelers. With 1,700 members and
an annual budget of $14 million, the Bureau is one of the largest membership-based
tourism promotion agencies in the country and employs a staff of 70.
Founded in 2003 by the SFCVB, the SFCVB Education & Research Foundation
is a 501 [c] 3 charitable foundation created to ensure that the hospitality
industry continues to thrive by producing educational events, providing
scholarships and commissioning research.
Under Marks' administration, the SFCVB achieved many triumphs and weathered
a variety of tribulations.
When Marks took office in 1987, hotel occupancy was 73 percent at an
average room rate of $85. In that year, 12.8 million people visited
San Francisco. Occupancy in 2005 was at 76 percent at an average room rate
of $153 and San Francisco welcomed more than 16 million visitors who spent
$6 billion in the city. In 2005, the Bureau booked more than 2 million
confirmed group room nights for future years.
In 1989, the SFCVB lead the city's recovery efforts following the Loma
Prieta earthquake, earning numerous accolades for its innovative and pro-active
crisis management approach that rapidly restored hotel occupancy and convention
Moscone Center was expanded twice with Moscone North opening in 1992
and Moscone West opening in 2003. Both expansions were major community
initiatives and both have brought millions of dollars of revenue into the
In response to the terrorist attacks and economic downturn of 2001,
the SFCVB created two signature events that continue to be successful and
popular: Dine About Town(tm), the month-long prix fixe dining promotion
held each January and the San Francisco Crab Festival, celebrated throughout
the city in February.
In 2002 Marks helped to create the Emerald Bowl, which brings top college
football teams and their supporters to the city during the week after Christmas.
He continues to serve as the Bowl's Chairman.
Indicative of San Francisco's status as "Everybody's Favorite City,"
San Francisco has been named "Best US City" by the readers of Conde Nast
Traveler magazine for the past 13 consecutive years.
The SFCVB has won the annual Pinnacle Award from Successful Meetings
magazine for the past 17 years. In 2005 the Bureau received the Gold
Service Award from Meetings & Conventions magazine for the 18th time.
Marks is a past national chairman of the Travel Industry Association
of America (2003) and its Foundation (1995-1997). He was a founding
member of the California Tourism Commission (1998-2003), and is past president
of the California Travel Industry Association (1999-2000).
He served as chairman of the International Association of Convention
& Visitor Bureaus (1988-89), was vice-chairman of the American
Society of Association Executives (1996-97) and served on the board of
the Professional Convention Management Association Foundation (1992-1993).
He was co-chair of the US/Japan Tourism Export Expansion Initiative (2003-2006).
Marks served as a trustee of Golden Gate University (1995-2002).
He is a member of the board of the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee
and is a life director of the annual Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, AZ.
He served on the board of the San Francisco Zoological Society for 10 years
In 2005 he received the Peter Goldman Award of Excellence from the San
Francisco Hotel Council, which is presented annually to an outstanding
leader in the hospitality industry. In 1994 he was presented the
first City Ambassador Award by the Northern California Concierge Association.
A sought after speaker, he was twice named as one of the 25 Most Influential
People in the Meetings Industry by Meeting News magazine. He received
the 1998 American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Key Award, the
highest award in association management, for outstanding achievements and
From 1982 until his appointment to the San Francisco Bureau, Marks
was president and CEO of the Phoenix & Valley of the Sun Convention
& Visitors Bureau. Prior to 1982 he held posts as chief executive
of the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and
on the staff of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
A native of San Francisco, Marks graduated from the University of the
Pacific in Stockton, CA with a bachelor's degree in communications.
In 2005 he was named a Distinguished Alumni by the university.
"I have enjoyed 19 exciting and rewarding years with the Bureau, and
more than 37 years in the tourism industry," Marks said. "After
spending five years promoting Arizona, I was extremely fortunate to be
invited to return home to lead the San Francisco Convention & Visitors
"The Bureau is on solid ground today...the result of a very dedicated
and highly professional staff working hand-in-hand with our volunteer leadership
and 1,700 member firms," Marks added.
"I am looking forward to spending more time with Marty, my wife of
41 years, our two children and three grandchildren who reside in Roseville,
CA and Tucson, AZ. However, I have no intention of remaining idle
in the future. I plan to put my experience and contacts to good use,"
For more information about the San Francisco Convention & Visitors
Bureau, call 415-974-6900 or visit www.sfvisitor.org