George brings more than two decades of experience in tourism destination marketing and research to the Longwoods team and its clients.
George was the Vice President responsible for Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation from October 2001 until April 2014. Under his leadership, Travel Michigan and its advertising agency, McCann Detroit, created and launched the award-winning Pure Michigan branding campaign in 2006, a campaign that Forbes ranked among the top ten tourism promotion campaigns worldwide. Initially a regional campaign, Pure Michigan became Michigan’s first significant national advertising campaign starting in 2009.
In 2014, George led the effort to create the National Council of State Tourism Directors Alumni Group and was elected the group’s first chair. He has consulted with the state tourism offices in Georgia, Louisiana, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia, presenting at their conferences and legislatures. George routinely guest lectures on tourism marketing at Michigan State University.
In 2012, George was named “One of the Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing” by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). In 2011, the National Council of State Tourism Directors named him State Tourism Director of the Year. Prior to joining Travel Michigan, George served as Ohio’s Tourism Director, and he was named State Tourism Director of the Year in 1997. He is the only person to have received this honor twice.
George served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Travel Association and the Board and Executive Committee of the National Council of State Tourism Directors. He was elected twice as Chair of the Council.
Before his work in tourism, George spent more than a decade in all phases of broadcasting, including serving as the Statehouse Bureau Chief for the Ohio Public Radio/Public Television Statehouse Bureau. He was the editor of the situation comedies “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times” in Los Angeles and was the technical director for the two pilots of “Austin City Limits” in Texas.
He is the author of three travel-related books and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.