Vail Valley Partnership head: ‘I essentially downsized myself’
Vail, CO, Colorado
For two years, Michael Kurz threw himself into his job at the Vail Valley Partnership. Now it’s time for something new.
Kurz Thursday announced his resignation from the business group. And, at least for now, there’s no intention to search for his replacement.
In a Friday interview, Kurz talked about his pride in the organization he’s leaving, and the reason he left.
“We’ve got some super-professional people in there now,” Kurz said. As an example, Kurz said the Partnership’s group sales department in the last two years has gone from booking several hundred thousand dollars worth of room nights to securing reservations for more than $2 million in the next year or so.
That, he said, is going to translate to $8 million, $10 million or more in overall spending at Vail and Beaver Creek.
But, he added, the length of the current economic slump has put financial pressure on every business in the valley, and when that happens, chambers of commerce suffer, too. When this recession turned into a long one, the partnership’s membership dropped, as did its revenue.
“It started to look like we’d have to adjust our size,” Kurz said. “Having me there as the CEO and president of a group that really just needed an executive director just didn’t make sense.”
So Kurz basically downsized himself, leaving the partnership in the hands of its board of directors and existing staff.
“We’re going to miss him a lot,” board chairman Glenn Davis said. “And I’m going to miss his presence there.”
So now Kurz is re-launching his business consulting company. With more than 35 years in the business of marketing and brand development, Kurz thinks the time is ripe to find new local, regional and national clients.
“Brand development now is more important now than it’s ever been,” Kurz said. “There’s an opportunity and I want to help businesses get through this.”
Kurz acknowledged that brand development is a “fairly esoteric” specialty, requiring knowledge of general business practices, finance, marketing and more.
With his experience, he said he’s confident he can have his own business operating profitably fairly quickly.
The rest of the valley’s business environment might take more time.
“It’s going to take a change in the employment picture,” Kurz said. “Without disposable income, you aren’t going to see a lot of travel. We’ll still get skiers, but people with extra time have to come back, too.”
But, he added, Vail’s well-positioned to take advantage of the recovery when it comes.
“The whole (Vail) renaissance is going to be crucial,” he said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.