|By Andrea Ahles, Fort Worth
Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 7, 2008 - The Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau has hired a Dallasite as chief executive to run its tourism business -- a key position as the city moves toward hosting Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
Jay Burress, 43, was tapped for the CEO position at the Arlington bureau after working for the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau for 20 years, most recently as senior vice president of sales and marketing. He signed a three-year contract and will be paid $155,000 annually. He will start work June 2.
"When we selected Jay Burress as our new CEO, it was a strategic decision to improve Arlington's position in the region," Pam Roach, chairwoman of the Arlington bureau's board, said in a written statement.
"This guy has lots of energy, which is what we need," Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said. "He knows people all over the country. I think he'll take the city to new heights."
The bureau has been without a chief executive since Linda DiMario stepped down in December. Former Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Doug Harman has led the bureau as it searched for a new leader.
In an interview with the Star-Telegram this week, Burress said he is excited to lead the city's efforts to promote attractions such as Six Flags, the new Dallas Cowboys stadium and the Glorypark town-center project. Burress said he is planning to move to Arlington with his wife, Jill, and three young children.
Why did you decide to apply for the Arlington position?
It's a great opportunity for me. It's a city that has so many great things happening with the developments there. Arlington really has the unique attractions that the whole Dallas-Fort Worth area needs. ... I'm excited to be part of that growth and grow with the entire DFW area.
What challenges are ahead for the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau?
I think a challenge with bureaus in general is always finding funding for some of the great things you're wanting to do. There are some great plans in place with Glorypark and future hotels, and they add to the exciting products the Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes.
Do you think Arlington should build a hotel adjacent to its convention center?
For many convention groups, [an adjacent hotel] is the price of admission just to bid on the business. More and more groups want that hotel connected not just for the convenience factor but, with the increase of gas prices, the cost of shuttling people to and from the convention center is getting more expensive. ... It is something I'll have to analyze while I'm there. You don't want to expand just to expand.
What travel markets should Arlington be going after for business?
I think you look at what you're best at. The drive market and the tourism market is always going to be a strength for Arlington, as well as a growing meetings market. But I think the events the new stadium will bring -- of course the Super Bowl and additional college football games and the Cotton Bowl -- are a great opportunity for Arlington in the future.
Staff writer Susan Schrock contributed to this report.
Position: Chief executive, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Experience: 20 years with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, most recently as senior vice president of sales and marketing
Salary: Three-year contract, $155,000 annually
Starts work: June 2
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