• Meet Andrew Heidt, From Boulder to Boise

     
    FROM THE Spring/Summer 2019 ISSUE
     

    Andrew Heidt has capitalized on opportunities to build a livelihood in thriving cities that bump up against the mountains.

The latest stop on Andrew Heidt’s career train is the Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau, an organiza - tion he joined last April as a convention sales manager. The fact that this booming Idaho city has new hotels, a recent convention center expansion and an abun - dance of recreational opportunities was enough to lure the Virginia native away from the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he most recently served as director of group sales and marketing.

While working at hotels and studying hotel manage - ment at Virginia Tech, Heidt discovered the world of destination marketing organizations. “Around 9/11, I was able to land a marketing coordinator job with the Annapolis CVB that turned into a sales role; that’s how I got into the meetings side.”

He grew up skiing on the East Coast and trips to Loveland Ski Area and Breckenridge resulted in an itch to live in Colorado that had to be scratched. After six years working for the Annapolis CVB, Heidt accepted a position with Groople, a new startup in Denver at the time. “I wanted to get into the automation of group business,” he explains.

Groople was purchased and the headquarters moved, so Heidt turned lemons into lemonade by accepting a group sales position with the Boulder CVB. As the organization’s budget increased, the sales team grew to three full-time staff members and Heidt became the director of the department.

“I was still loving Colorado and the position in Boulder was ideal, but I had a gut feeling it was time to see what else I could learn from the meetings and conventions world. I went on a sightseeing and camp - ing trip through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and fell in love with Boise,” he says.

In his free time, Heidt enjoys his surroundings, espe - cially trail running, mountain biking and skiing. “When you are in a town in the U.S. Mountain West, you get a really welcoming vibe. It’s more casual. Everyone works hard, but it’s all about the adventure and the outdoors that other places can’t offer. I think one of the biggest reasons I stay out here is that every season has its own unique activities.”

Over the past decade, Executive Chef Ben Jones has cooked up creative culinary experiences for remote, high-end mountain properties.

Sage Lodge, located 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park in Pray, Montana, is the latest resort to tap into chef Ben Jones’ talents, bringing him on board in October 2021 to oversee two restaurants, create memorable culinary experiences, and elevate catering services for meetings and events.

 

Brady Johnson, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team, now balances time between C Lazy U Ranch, Destination Colorado, his family and the ski slopes. 

While most people retire just once in their lifetime, C Lazy U Ranch’s Brady Johnson wants to retire three or four times. 

“I think that’s the fun part about life. Find something new, chase a goal and accomplish it, and then find something even more fun and exciting that aligns with what you’re doing with your life at the time,” says Johnson. 

 

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry.