HOUSTON – Mike Waterman, a hospitality veteran with more than 26 years in the industry, has been named the new president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and executive vice president of Houston First Corp.
Waterman joins the GHCVB/HFC from Marriott International, where he currently serves as vice president of sales for the Southwest region overseeing 100 properties, including a grouping of Marriott hotels in Los Angeles' convention district known as L.A. Live. He has held a series of executive positions with Marriott International over the last 14 years and has been promoted five times during that period. Prior to that, he held director positions with Marriott affiliated properties from Chicago to Baltimore since 1993. He officially joins the GHCVB/HFC on May 11.
In his new role, a major focus of Waterman's responsibility will be to promote the Houston region to the local, state, regional, national and international meetings and leisure markets via effective marketing and sales strategies.
"We set out to find the strongest person available to lead the GHCVB in an unprecedented period in our organization's history," says Nick Massad Jr., chair of the GHCVB. "Houston is experiencing incredible growth in many arenas, particularly hospitality and we know that with Final Four in 2016 and Super Bowl in 2017, that will only get better in the months and years to come. After an extensive search, we are confident that Mike is the leader the GHCVB needs to ensure we capitalize on these opportunities."
"I am very excited to help lead the convention and tourism efforts of the fourth-largest city in the country," Waterman says. "Houston has a fascinating story to tell and its profile as a destination continues to rise. The opportunity to help shape that conversation at such an important time for the city is something I'm very much looking forward to."
In June 2014, the boards of both HFC and the GHCVB approved a strategic alignment between the two organizations to create a more efficient approach to marketing and selling Houston to tourists and conventions. As part of that agreement, GHCVB employees became employees of HFC while the GHCVB maintained its own board of directors and gained seats on the HFC board.
"We continue to build a strong team to enhance the brand. With his experience as a leader at one of the nation's premier hospitality companies, Mike brings profound knowledge and talent to that effort," says Dawn Ullrich, CEO of Houston First.
Waterman earned a BS in hospitality management from the University of New Hampshire. He will be relocating from Southern California with his wife Bridget and 3 boys, age 16, 13 and 11.