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Staff Directory

Dennis Lauver  dlauver@salinakansas.org
President/CEO - Dennis is a native Kansan. He returned to Kansas in late 2006 to become President/CEO of the Chamber. Dennis previously served as President of the Chamber of Commerce in Clinton, Iowa, Sarpy County Nebraska and South Sioux City, Nebraska. Dennis began work in the late 1980's at the Sioux City (Iowa) Chamber of Commerce as the Director, Community & Government Relations. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Economic Developers Association and has previously served as chair of the government affairs division of American Chamber of Commerce Executives, the trade association of Chambers of Commerce. He has been a speaker and moderator at several of their National conventions.

In addition, he is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Council, which works with the bank to encourage affordable housing in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma. In 2009, he was designated a "Certified Chamber Executive" (CCE). Today, just over 500 chamber officials in the world have the designation.

Dennis graduated from Morningside College in Sioux City, IA and has an MBA from Wayne State College, which is part of the Nebraska University system. Dennis and his wife have two boys. In addition to spending time with his family, he enjoys being involved with the church they attend in Salina, reading and golf.


Don Weiser  dweiser@salinakansas.org
Senior Vice President
- Don is a Kansas native and has been at the Chamber since 1975. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in Journalism. He is also a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management, and has completed six years of Post-Graduate Institute. Don is Past President of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce Executives and Past Chairman of the American Chamber of Commmerce Executives Communication Council. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Don's primary responsibilities include membership development, communication, Leadership Salina and Salina Business Hall of Fame.

Don and his wife have two daughters and three grandchildren. In addition to spending time with his family, he enjoys all types of sports.




Sandy Cole  scole@salinakansas.org
Accountant
- Sandy joined the staff in 1989. Her primary responsibilities include accounts receivable and payable, membership database management, monthly financial reporting and budgeting for the Chamber and Visit Salina. Sandy serves as staff liaison for the Finance Committee as they provide fiscal oversight and management of the organization's assets.

Sandy studied data processing at the North Central Kansas Technical College, and is a graduate of the US Chamber Institutes for Organizational Management curriculum and Leadership Salina. She and her family live in Bennington, just north of Salina, which counts her among the many in the Salina workforce that commute from 'bedroom communities' daily. Sandy is also an active member of the Noon Network AMBUCS club.

She shares her talent as a pianist in her church's Praise Band. In her spare time, she enjoys music, movies, needlepoint, and is an avid reader.

Larry Powell  lpowell@salinakansas.org
Director of Business Retention and Expansion
- Larry assists businesses in the following areas: site analysis, demographics, planning, mentoring, and network building. Larry works closely with local, state and federal partners to support growth opportunities. He also manages Project OPEN and assists in the placement of income tax credits used to support the Network Kansas E-Community Loan Program. In addition, Larry manages the Chamber's Economic Development website, Synchronist & LOIC systems.

Larry has served as a board member of many professional organizations including the Kansas Economic Development Council, Inc. He is also a BREI Project Coordinator and graduate of the Economic Development Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce for Organizational Management. Larry received his BSBA from Emporia State University and his Mini-MPA from the Hugo Wall School of Wichita State University.


Eric Brown  ebrown@salinakansas.org
Workforce Development Director
- Eric is responsible for organizing and implementing Workforce Development programming to provide Salina area employers with sufficient quantity and quality of labor. He also works closely with other local, state and federal government partners to support local workforce development objectives.

Eric currently oversees development, marketing and continual updating of the Salina Education 2 Career website, which features a matric listing all the careers positions that exist in the Salina area. He also provides staff support to the Salina Area Young Professionals organization.

Eric is a Kansas native having grown up in Brewster, Kansas. He received his B.A. degree from Fort Hays State University and his M.B.A. from Kansas Wesleyan University. Eric and his wife, Danielle, have two wonderful children; a son and a daughter. In addition to spending time with his family and friends, he enjoys anything sports related, playing video games and is an avid Denver Broncos fan.


Rachel Hinde  rhinde@salinakansas.org
Director of Communications and Military Affairs
- Rachel joined the Chamber in 2011. Her responsibilities include developing public relations and marketing programs, producing content for publications, online and social media communications, event coordination, implementing initiatives to build a healthy economy and improve the quality of life for the military and community.

Rachel graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University in 2009 with a B.A. degree in Public Relations and a minor in Communications and Biology. She currently is a member of the following; Salina Arts & Humanities Commission Community Art and Design Advisory Committee, K-State Salina Students in Free Enterprise Board, Salina Area Young Professionals, Salina Downtown Inc. Salina Breast Cancer Awareness Month Steering Committee, Volunteer Connection Adisory Board, Miss Representation Steering Committee, USD 305 Stewart Elementary School Site Council, and Senator Jerry Moran's Military and Veteran's Advisory Committee.

Rachel enjoys spending time with her daughter, Liv, family and friends. Her interests include; art, theatre, writing, public relations, travel, music, animals, outdoor sports and running.


Delta Bryant  dbryant@salinakansas.org
Administration and Operations
- Delta is support staff for the front office and her responsibilities include event coordinating, School to Career placements, coordinator for the All America Team and Mid America Farm Expo.

Before moving to Salina, Delta was a floral designer in Colorado. Some of her favorite hobbies include reading and watching classic movies.

Donna Smith  dsmith@salinakansas.org
Accounting Assistant - Donna assists in compiling and recording financial data and mantaining fiscal records according to established accounting procedures. She also manages the Plan Room and Visit Salina Annex rentals. Prior to joining the Chamber in September 2000, Donna was a sales/service manager for a local manufacturing facility.

Donna is a lifelong resident of Salina and also with recreating with family and friends, she enjoys agricultural activities, culinary arts, digital photography and reading.


Visit Salina Staff

Sylvia Rice  srice@salinakansas.org
Director
- Sylvia joined the Chamber's Convention and Visitors Bureau staff in 1991, first specializing in the convention market. Years of experience in hotel sales, operations and management instilled a strong commitment to great customer service and providing a warm welcome to our visitors, the basic tenants upon which the Visit Salina program is built today. Her primary responsibilities now include marketing, advertising, publications, administration, staff development and the group/leisure markets. Sylvia works with Salina's hospitality industry - hotels, attractions, retail, restaurants and events - to develop and promote the "Salina Experience".

Sylvia is passionate about tourism and about the role Salina plays in creating the Kansas product. She is a past president and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas I-70 Association and the Travel Industry Association of Kansas (TIAK), and represents Salina in many statewide tourism coalitions. She also attended Kansas Technical Institute in Salina, is a graduate of the US Chamber Institutes of Organizational Management, and has earned the TIAK designation of Kansas Destination Specialist.

Sylvia and husband Richard have three grown children and six grandchildren. She enjoys classic movies, theatre, concerts, cooking and is very active in her church, particularly as a youth leader. But her most treasured 'down time' is spent exploring Kansas with her grandchildren - tourism promoters in the making!


Tiffany Benien  tbenien@salinakansas.org
Sports and Events Manager
- Tiffany is responsible for servicing and securing sports and special events that attract visitors into Salina. She strives to ensure that the sports market will continue to attract visitors and create a significant influx of new dollars into the Salina community.  Tiffany often evaluates and estimates the visitor spending that events hosted in Salina provide to the community. Vital to her staff are scores of community volunteers, which Tiffany recruits, directs and builds strong relationships with so that Salina's events can be successful.

Tiffany also works closely with the staff at local facilities including the Salina Bicentennial Center, Salina Parks and Recreation, and USD 305. She has experience working with several sports events held in Salina on an annual basis. Examples include Kansas State High School Activities Association championship for baseball, basketball, football, softball, volleyball, and wrestling; the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Championship; KS ASA Softball Tournaments, Triple Crown Sports; Youth Baseball and American Legion Baseball tournaments; car shows; golf tournaments; and more!

Tiffany begain working for the Chamber in 1995. Prior to the Chamber she attended Kansas Wesleyan University where she earned a B.A. degree in Business. She is also a native of Salina, attending high school in Bennington. Tiffany and her husband, Jeromy, enjoy softball, volleyball and traveling to destinations where palm trees are plentiful. They have a daughter, Rylee, born Dec. 2008 who brings focus and tremendous joy to their lives. Rylee likes Salina and is also fond of her favorite vacation destinations Lincoln, KS, Orlando and Merrit Island, Florida.


Jo Ann McClure  jmcclure@salinakansas.org
Convention Sales
- Jo Ann markets Salina as a convention and meeting destination. She works closely with Salina's varied meeting venues, lodging facilities, and attractiosn to insure each meeting planner's wants and needs are addressed. Meeting planners agree that Jo Ann's dedication and attention to detail in instrumental in helping host successful and memorable meetings and conventions.

Since joining the Visit Salina team in 2004, Jo Ann has helped contract many groups from state and regional associations, reunions and military. She continues to secure many new and continued conventions at Salina meeting venues and lodging facilities.

Jo Ann spend her earlier career at the Salina Journal as the Special Sections Manager and an Advertising Account Executive. She also spend many years in the hospitality industry as Director of Sales, Banquet Manager, and Revenue Management, while attending and graduating from Cloud County Community College in Marketing and Kansas Wesleyan University in Business Administration/Economics. Jo Ann is married to Russell Schmidt. They enjoy traveling, cruising in their 1969 Corvette, and enjoying the company of family, friends and their dog and cat.

Allison Webb  awebb@salinakansas.org
Relations, Data and Event Specialist - Allison joined the Chamber in October of 2012. Her responsibilities include: Social Media communications for Visit Salina by managing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media outlets. She also works closely with Tiffany to ensure that the sports market continues to attract visitors and positively impacts the Salina community. Along with the Chamber staff a key part of making Salina's events successful is with the help of community volunteers, which Allison and Tiffany recruit. She also is responsible for managing the Chamber website and the membership database.

Allison graduated from the University of South Carolina Aiken in 2008 with a B.A. degree in Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She is also a member of the Salina Area Young Professionals (SAYP). She and her husband recently moved to the area from Philadelphia, PA but originally from South Carolina.

Allison and her husband enjoy spending time with their dog Sam. Road trips to South Carolina have become a must to see family and friends. They have a love for traveling and new adventures! Her interests include: concerts, gymnastics, biking, boating, and watching the Carolina Gamecocks play.


Andi Pahl  apahl@salinakansas.org
Administrative Assistant
- Andi keeps Visit Salina running like a well-oiled machine! Her primary responsibility is the distribution of visitor information - Visit Salina and other promotional brochures, requested visitor information packets, responses to advertising inquires, and calendar of event information, just to name a few. She supports the Visit Salina staff in coordinating volunteer schedules, arranging customized services for conventions and events that mights include transportation, registration, welcome packets and programming.

She is a proud Salina native, and is our 'unofficial historian' on staff. If it's a question about Salina, she either knows the answer or knows the person who does! She often represents Visit Salina at consumer travel shows such as the Kansas Sampler Festival and Kansas State Fair.

Andi graduated from Salina High School and Brown Mackie College. She returned to Salina in 1998 after 20 years in New Jersey, where she was an editorial assistant at Financial Executives Institute, Morristown and executive assistant at Metro Commercial real Estate, Mount Laurel. In her leisure time, Andi explores for antiques, is a great cook and likes to travel. She also enjoys Chamber events and First Thursdays in the Lee District.
 
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