A graduate of the Hospitality and Tourism Management School at Virginia Tech, Eric has a long and deep understanding of the hospitality and tourism industries. As President of VRLTA, Eric leads a membership of over 1,500 from across the Commonwealth in efforts before the General Assembly and with industry events. Eric joined VRLTA from Redstone Companies Hospitality and has over three decades of experience and business success within the entertainment, hotel, casino resort, and events industries. Prior to joining Redstone, Eric was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Benchmark Hospitality and the President of Xelerate Group, a company he launched in 2002. He grew the Xelerate Group into an organization with a recognized specialty in national events marketing, sponsorship partnering, media buying, and celebrity appearances including partnerships with NASCAR, Chuck Norris, The Food Network, and Indy Racing League. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Malibu Entertainment Worldwide, Inc. and also served as Corporate Marketing Director and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Hollywood Casino Corporation/Pratt Hotel Corporation. Eric has held leadership positions with Bristol Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and for Anheuser Busch's Busch Gardens. He is Chairman of the International Society of Hotel Assocations, is on the Advisory Board of the Virginia Tech Hospitality and Tourism Management Department, is a Board Member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, and is a former President and Vice President of the Crowne Plaza Marketing Association.
More about Eric...
What is your ultimate Virginia weekend getaway?
Primland Resort is a great place to spend a weekend.
What is your favorite cuisine, and a favorite Virginia restaurant that serves it?
I'd have to say seafood. Rockafeller's in Virginia Beach is a longtime favorite.
Which places are on your travel bucket list – Virginia and beyond?
In Virginia, I'd like to stay at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Outside of Virginia, Spain tops the list.
Mountains or beach?
The beach - it offers sun and fun!
Eat out or carry out?
Eat Out. I’ve had a lifetime of carryout lately!
Amusement park or camping?
I'd actually prefer a 5 Star Resort!
Name a place in Virginia you’d like to visit.
Chincoteague is somewhere I haven't been - yet.
What’s your area’s best-kept secret?
Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
Favorite place for a beer or a cocktail?
Perfect day in your (Virginia) hometown?
Steaks and cigars.