Mary Beth Stutzman
President & CEO
Started working at the Alpena Area CVB in 2013
Years working in the marketing field: 27+
When the leadership position at the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau was advertised, Mary Beth’s husband Casey semi-jokingly told her that if she didn’t apply for it, he would send her resume in himself. A published journalist by age 16, Mary Beth has spent more than half her life working in the fields of marketing, promotions, public relations, and development. As the President and CEO of the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, all of her previous experience, travel, and her love of the outdoors have been put to good use to elevate the status of her hometown and inspire travel to the Alpena Area.
- Creating overall marketing strategy
- Managing marketing, advertising, promotional partnerships
- TV show projects promoting local assets
- Producing promotional video
- Overseeing the curation of the community’s brand
- Sustainable tourism destination management advocacy
- Site visit liaison for conference and workshop events
- Travel writer hosting & prospecting
- Radio, TV , & webcast interviews across the state
- Creation & distribution of digital & print promotional material
- Local asset preservation & conservation advocacy
- Official spokesperson for promotion of the Alpena Area
- Overseeing budget, staff team, building operations, and marketing contracts and partnership projects
- Working with the Board of Directors to serve the community and guide the future of the organization
- Professional Certification in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management from George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies
- Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, double major in Organizational Communications and Psychology
- Associate’s Degree from Alpena Community College, with a concentration in Journalism
- Diploma from Alpena High School, cum laude
Significant Volunteer Work:
- Huron Pines Board of Directors
- Rotary Club of Alpena
- Alpena County 4-H
- National FFA Organization
- Alpena General Hospital Tray Club
Favorite way to drink coffee: A big mug topped with creamer and whipped cream – enjoyed while watching the wildlife around her family homestead.
Mary Beth serves as spokesperson for the community which has led to features in several national Outdoor Channel TV programs including Major League Fishing. She has presented on stage at the Michigan FFA Convention on the topic of finding support along your life’s journey, traveled the state of Michigan teaching leadership workshops to high school students, been published in national media, wrote a column for the local newspaper for almost 10 years, and is the recipient of her local Chamber of Commerce’s Culture Change Agent award. She has leveraged the community’s assets to help bring about double digit increases in tourism growth and has grown the Alpena Area CVB from a staff of one to a team of three. More recently, Mary Beth was selected to participate in the Small Cities and Towns Delegation at the U.S. Water Alliance summit held in Austin, Texas; a venue for inspiring solutions to protect the world’s water resources. During the early COVID pandemic, Mary Beth served as a facilitator for a Small Business Task Force to assist her community with navigating the constant changes impacting small businesses during the 2020 shut-down and re-opening phases.
Mary Beth’s career work experience extends back to the mid-1990s when she worked as a journalist for The Alpena News, a daily newspaper; working part-time during the school year and full-time during the summer months (her most popular story at the time being a full-page feature about a local sheep farm, which was picked up by the AP). After graduating college, Mary Beth worked marketing and public relations for Alpena General Hospital (now MidMichigan Medical) which included a weekly TV feature called the Monday Medical Minute (alliteration was hot back then). Always looking for a new challenge, she went on to work Communications and Fundraising for Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Public Relations and Online Classroom Technology Implementation for Alpena Community College, and served as the National Marketing Manager for Panel Processing, overseeing marketing, advertising, and trade show programs across the United States.
Favorite activity: Biking the trails at Rockport (and hunting for fossils or looking at the dark sky)
Let’s Ask Her
Why do you like working in the tourism industry?
Two of my favorite things to do in life are: 1) Befriend strangers, and 2) Inspire people to care about something. Tourism combines those things with my absolute total admiration for my hometown. I get to search for people who need a break, need to relax, or need to reconnect with their families or friends. Then I get to help them discover how spending time in Northeast Michigan can help them regain that balance. It is an outright treat to go to work every day knowing that our work is also helping local businesses keep their doors open, keep their families fed, and help others reach their own goals in life. Putting my education and previous work experience to good use, I also get to explore and think outside of the box in terms of marketing and promotion strategy. There is a lot of freedom in the tourism industry to shake off the cloak of weighed-down tradition and implement exciting new methods, and then see those methods provide real results and make a difference in the lives of people living in our community.
What do you love about Northeast Michigan?
You can take the girl off the farm, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. Growing up riding horses, helping bale hay, building forts in the woods, and exploring sinkholes has instilled in me a deep desire to manage our natural resources so that children of future generations can have the same experiences. I love that Northeast Michigan has so many unique natural features. Sinkholes, lakes, rivers, fields, forest land, beaches, trails, historic resources and wildlife provide a vast amount of opportunity for learning, communing with the source, and adventure.
Our community is another reason why I continue to call Alpena home. Caring neighbors, community-minded businesses, and a slower pace of life make this area a perfect place to raise children. I frequently take my daughter Vesper and son Indiana on surprise adventures. I tell them what to bring but the final destination is a mystery. Sometimes we visit places like my old childhood swimming hole at Maple Ridge Township Park, or we hike to the sand dunes at Thompson’s Harbor State Park. I adore sharing these places with them. My husband grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of the Detroit Metro area. So we’re maybe a little but like that Journey song. It has been fun to see him embrace our Up-North lifestyle and he is now a 4-H leader and helps inspire kids to honor their traditions and explore the outdoors. Together we fish, ride the single track MTB trails at Norway Ridge, camp, and take our children to as many community festivals and events as we can fit in our schedule. We are never bored. I also find inspiration for my personal writing everywhere I look. We are surrounded by natural beauty in Northeast Michigan.
Alpena also gives me opportunities to challenge myself in other ways. Over the past several years I’ve renovated homes (working on the 4th) and two businesses, have helped my husband start two businesses, and can be close to extended family. The quality of life in this area is unmatched. We have all the conveniences of modern living, a vibrant community and thriving downtown, right at nature’s doorstep. As a high school kid that wanted to go live in a “bigger more exciting city”; and after living in a few, I’m so thankful that life proved me wrong and gave me a big exciting existence right here in my hometown. I am able to travel and explore new places which always leaves me inspired, and also expands my appreciation for my hometown and the wonderful attributes of living and working in a small town. We are raising our family in a 4-season paradise. Can’t ask for much more than that!