KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – In the midst of challenges faced, and lessons learned, from COVID-19 in 2020, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) announced a few reorganizational staff updates and promotions.
“It’s always great to see leaders step up, especially in times of crisis, so we see this situation as an opportunity to recognize the awesome talent we have in our organization,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the VFTCB. “Now more than ever, it’s important to reward those who’ve helped overcome adversity so that we can take positive steps forward. We’re not letting up, and we believe these decisions will help us continue to tell the story of Montgomery County, PA as both a leisure and business overnight destination to drive positive economic recovery, and stimulate jobs.”
- Jake Markezin has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. He oversees the day-to-day operations for the organization’s 14-member team including finance, IT, and human capital management. Jake’s help and guidance have successfully led the team through the difficult COVID-19 public health pandemic by keeping the staff educated, well-informed, and prepared, while simultaneously making tough decisions due to the coronavirus budgetary restrictions. He is a steady, thoughtful, and trustworthy leader who is also spearheading a regional Diversity & Inclusion committee, and he will report directly to the President & CEO. A graduate of Susquehanna University, Jake has dedicated more than 20 years to the VFTCB and the tourism and hospitality industry.
- Rachel Riley has been promoted to Senior Director of Communications. She will continue to oversee communications/presentations, public relations, and social media, but her role is expanding to include government and regional relations, arts and culture, sales partnerships, and board business, and she will report directly to the President & CEO. Besides serving as an excellent spokesperson for the organization, Rachel also helped launch Bike Montco and other videos, led the charge for both the #MontCoStrong t-shirt and Freedom from Hunger community fundraisers, and filled in with both social media coverage and creative oversight due to staff reductions this year. Since 2018, she has also helped the organization apply for and win almost 100 awards. To date, Rachel has earned almost 4,000 articles placements for an exposure of more than 613 million, and has led the VFTCB’s social media growth to more than 161,779 with millions of video views and individuals reached. A former award-winning multimedia journalist, she holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Holy Family University, and was named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR.
- Justine Garbarino has been promoted to Senior Director of Marketing & Business Development. In 2020, she not only managed coordination of the Make It Main Street partnership with Montgomery County/Commerce Department, but she also supervised the organization’s first-ever all-digital Annual Report, created a co-op recovery package for restaurants, and filled in with website and mobile app content management due to staff reductions. Justine will continue to oversee co-op, Main Street, web/apps, digital marketing media buys/analytics, and will take over creative, and will also report directly to the President & CEO. Under her direction, more than 80 partners have invested more than half a million dollars in the co-op program. She previously worked as a broadcast television producer for the FOX News affiliates in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. Justine holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from The Catholic University of America.
- Jared Spackman has been promoted to Creative Manager. This year, Jared completed more than 275 creative projects, without the help of outside agency support, including: #MontCoStrong t-shirt logo, Montco Wellness for Events brand, Crave Montco spring and fall digital guides, new membership program, Main Street logo, #MakeItMontco Hotel Package branding, and VFNHP/VFTCB Visitor Center Welcome Space design. A former intern, Jared has worked at the VFTCB since 2017, and holds an associate degree in Specialized Technology from Antonelli Institute.