DUNWOODY, Ga. – (August 31, 2021) – Ray Ezelle, a senior hospitality sales, marketing, event and business development executive, has been named Discover Dunwoody’s new executive director. The board of the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) voted earlier this month to finalize the selection and looks forward to welcoming Ezelle to the team.
“Ray will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Discover Dunwoody,” according to Alicia Wiley, chair of the search committee and general manager of Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter. “The organization has a strong, solid foundation. As tourism re-emerges from the pandemic, Ray’s leadership is going to be a key component of moving the community forward in terms of growth in revenues for local businesses.”
The mission of Discover Dunwoody is to generate economic development by effectively marketing the facilities of the community and the surrounding areas as a preferred business, convention and tourism destination. The organization partners with the City of Dunwoody to provide these services. Led by an eleven-member board of directors and professional staff, Discover Dunwoody had a pre-COVID annual budget of approximately $1.7 million generated by hotel/motel tax revenues.
Ezelle has served as Vice President of Sales, Sports and Services with Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, Roanoke, Virginia; Executive Vice President of Business Development, Connections Housing, Suwanee, Georgia; Vice President, Connect Meetings, Norcross, Georgia; and Area Director of Sales and Marketing, PCH Hotels – Resort Collection on Alabama RTJ Golf Trail, Florence and Montgomery Alabama. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ray founded Total Hospitality Industry Solutions (THIS) in Suwanee.
“The search committee was seeking a professional with a proven tenure in sales strategic planning; demonstrated knowledge of standards and best practices for destination marketing organizations; as well as a history of involvement in relevant professional organizations,” said Charlie Augello, chair of the Discover Dunwoody board and owner of E. 48th Street Italian Market. “Ray brings these attributes to the table for the community.”
Ezelle is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and him and his wife Stephanie have four sons. Three are attending universities in Georgia and one is completing his United States Air Force pilot training this month.
“Becoming a part of the Discover Dunwoody team is extremely exciting for me,” Ezelle said. “I look forward to becoming a partner in the community and building upon the success that was established prior to the pandemic.”
In addition to Wiley and Augello, Bill Baker, senior general manager of Perimeter Mall, and Sharon Kilmartin, area general manager of Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia, served on the search committee. All four currently serve on the board of directors at Discover Dunwoody.
Dunwoody offers 1,768 rooms in nationally acclaimed hotels, with over 300 new rooms currently under construction, and 66,000 square feet of meeting space for the smallest to largest of convention gatherings.
The search process was broken into three phases. The first centered on determining the skill sets and focus points for the position. Board members, government leaders and other stakeholders were interviewed to build an updated position description and a candidate profile. The second phase was casting the net for candidates and specifically identifying professionals who may fit the criteria established. The final segment was an intensive interview process of the candidates best suited for the role.
Discover Dunwoody engaged The Chason Group to lead the executive search process. The firm, which is Georgia based, specializes in executive searches for economic development organizations, chambers of commerce, foundations, and other non-profits.
About Discover Dunwoody
Located just 10 miles north of Atlanta, Dunwoody, Georgia is a premier hub for shopping, dining, business, and genuine hospitality. From locally owned boutiques to crowd favorites, wine bars to patio dining, a fine art school to a theatre company and more than 180 acres of green space, Dunwoody offers unexpected experiences around every corner. With easy access to mass transit and major highways, the city provides accessibility to key Georgia tourist attractions, events, and festivals while still delivering the charm of a small community with its own annual events, such as the Dunwoody Arts Festival and Lemonade Days.
Ella Chancellor, Hemsworth Communications
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