Town of Vail names longtime local Mia Vlaar as new economic development boss
VAIL — The town of Vail has announced the selection of Mia Vlaar to serve as its new economic development director. Vlaar brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position, having served in a number of corporate, government and nonprofit marketing and management roles since moving to the valley in 1988. She’ll join the town’s executive team effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Vlaar currently serves as the director of sales and marketing for East West Destination Hospitality, where she oversees the promotion and sales of more than 300 vacation rental residences spanning more than 45 properties throughout Beaver Creek and Vail. Her career path has included international sales and marketing positions with Vail Resorts and Vail Valley Foundation. She helped revolutionize the Vail Jazz Festival during her four years as executive director by adding the summer-long jazz series to the list of Vail’s events while doubling ticket sales. Vlaar was also instrumental in managing the evolution of digital marketing for clients including Vail Resorts through her role as senior sales manager at Resort Technology Partners. She has served as a vendor to and later as a vice chair of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council, a voluntary board appointed by the Vail Town Council, which serves as the Vail Local Marketing District.
The town’s economic development office is responsible for leading the town’s marketing, research and special events initiatives with the goal of retaining and attracting business to Vail and growing its year-round economy. Vlaar will supervise a staff of two as well as economic programs of the Vail Local Marketing District, Commission on Special Events and Vail Economic Advisory Council.
“As a passionate believer in the Vail brand and everything our exceptional community has to offer, I’m honored to be able to step into this pivotal role to serve the town of Vail and the greater Vail community,” Vlaar said. “Vail enjoys a unique public-private partnership and I look forward to continuing to evolve this relationship to contribute to Vail’s economic vitality.”
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Vlaar was selected from among 80 candidates. A screening panel with representation from the town staff as well as members from the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council and Commission on Special Events assisted Town Manager Greg Clifton during the interview process.
“Mia rose to the top because of her experience, her ability to hit the ground running and her tremendous capacity for achieving results,” Clifton said. “The town is indeed fortunate to have landed her services.”
Created in 2007, activities directed by the economic development office have resulted in record visitation and significant sales tax revenue increases during eight of the past 10 years, with summer growth exceeding winter growth percentages during five of those years.
The position was vacated earlier in the year following the retirement of Kelli McDonald, who had held the post since its inception.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.