Jan. 3, 2019 —Tacoma, Wash. – The boards of directors of Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County and Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission today announced a merger of the two organizations, and that Dean Burke will assume the position of president and CEO of the joint organization, beginning immediately.

Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County and Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission are non-profit economic-development organizations responsible for promoting Pierce County as a destination. Their merger allows the two organizations to improve efficiency and return-on-investment by sharing operating expenses while jointly marketing Pierce County as a destination for leisure tourism, meetings and sporting events. Tourism is a major economic engine in Pierce County and brought more than $1.2 billion into the local economy in 2017.

In seven years at Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission, Burke developed outstanding support from stakeholders and grew the commission’s reputation as a valuable resource. He helped Pierce County communities develop a vision for a collective sporting-event strategy while bringing in events that contributed millions of dollars in economic impact to those communities.

“When we talk about Tacoma and Pierce County, we’re talking about a region made up of Mountain, City and Sea,” Burke said. “From the summit of Mt. Rainier to the Foss Waterway - in a straight line, it’s only 42 miles. From alpine glacier to salt water, that is a lot diversity in such a short distance. And we have such a robust social setting that fills in the space between such wild geographic density. When you look across the United States, a place like this stands out among the rest. The very platform we were built on is truly unique, and that is what excites me.”

“Our messages about tourism and quality of life touch everyone who visits, works or lives here,” Burke added. “Through leisure, sports, events, festivals, conventions, meetings and more - Pierce County is a special place like no other.”

“The connections Dean has built and the respect he has garnered throughout the community will be an asset as he leads Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County into this exciting new phase,” said Evan Marques, chair of Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County’s board of directors. “The board and I have seen first-hand his talent as an executive and as an advocate of this destination, and we have full confidence that he is the right person to guide the organization into a new era of destination marketing in the South Puget Sound.”

“Dean has been instrumental in making the South Puget Sound a championship destination, and he will do the same for leisure tourism and meetings at Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County,” said Nigel English, executive chairman of Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission. “We are proud to be joining forces with Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County, and look forward to a meaningful and prosperous relationship under Dean’s leadership.”

A resident of Tacoma for nearly 25 years, Burke is an avid paddleboarder and has spoken on the TEDx stage and others about Tacoma’s evolving waterfront and its value to the city. He is a respected thought leader for the evolving waterfront, parks, venues and destination assets throughout Pierce County.

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Dean Burke, president and CEO of Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce CountyClick here for high-resolution headshot of Dean Burke, Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County president and CEO.

Visit Tacoma-Pierce County + Pierce County is the official destination marketing organization for Tacoma + Pierce County, Washington. Accredited by Destinations International. For more information, visit www.TravelTacoma.com.

For More Information Contact:
Matt Wakefield
Senior Communications Manager
[253] 284-3253