General Session Speakers

George_Zimmerman

George_Zimmerman

George Zimmermann
Vice President for Travel Michigan
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

George Zimmermann became the Vice President for Travel Michigan at the MEDC in October 2001.  Under his leadership, Travel Michigan created and launched the award-winning Pure Michigan branding campaign in 2006, a campaign that Forbes ranked as one of 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 2011, George was named State Tourism Director of the Year by his peers, the National Council of State Tourism Directors.  This was the second time he has been so honored, and he is the only person to receive this recognition twice.  Prior to joining Travel Michigan, George served as Ohio’s Tourism Director, and he was named State Tourism Director of the Year in 1997.

Before his work in tourism, George spent more than a decade in all phases of broadcasting in Texas, California, and Ohio, including serving as the Statehouse Bureau Chief for the Ohio Public Radio/Public Television Statehouse Bureau in Columbus.  He is the author of three travel-related books and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin Website:  www.michigan.org

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Jim Falk

Jim Falk

Jim Falk
Associate Director and Marine Advisory Service Director
Delaware Sea Grant College Program

Jim Falk received a master’s degree from Texas A&M University in recreation and resources development in 1978 and served as a marine recreation and tourism specialist with the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service (MAS) Program for 21 years. In February 1999 he was appointed director of the MAS Program and in 2009 he assumed additional duties as associate director of Delaware Sea Grant. In his capacity as the recreation and tourism specialist, he conducted numerous applied research projects directed at understanding people’s attitudes, behaviors, and opinions about outdoor recreation, tourism, and natural resource issues.  In 2010 he co-led a national project to renew Sea Grant’s leadership role in sustainable coastal tourism. Jim was a main author of a 2012 policy white paper, Sustainable Coastal Tourism: Renewing Sea Grant’s Role, which outlines specific challenges and opportunities for Sea Grant to consider. He has led workshops and training sessions for Sea Grant colleagues nationally on sustainable coastal tourism and shared his coastal tourism experiences as an invited speaker at the 2010 Korea-U.S. Sea Grant International Workshop in Jeju, Korea. He served as the National Sea Grant Extension liaison to the USDA Extension Service’s Communities in Economic Transition: Tourism Design Team in 1994 and the National Outdoor Recreation Research and Education Steering Committee, CSREES in 2007.Website:  www.seagrant.noaa.gov

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Dan Cotton

Dan Cotton

Dan Cotton, Executive Director of the National eXtension Initiative, leads the eXtension Initiative, an internet-based educational network integral to the national community-based Cooperative Extension System. Prior to working for eXtension, Cotton served as Director of Communications and Information Technology for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. There, he founded the Distributed Environments for Active Learning Laboratory, which assisted faculty in the development of internet-based active learning environments.

While associated with the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC), he served as a co-PI for the National Science Foundation Program: Advanced Internet Satellite Extension Project (AISEP). Prior to working in Nebraska, he was Computer Coordinator for the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service, where he helped develop the organization’s statewide computer network and technology resources, and assisted the National Center for Supercomupting Applications (NCSA) in developing an internet-based agricultural production support system. Prior to Illinois, Dan worked for the University of Missouri Extension as Manager of Personal Computer Operations. For 28 years he has worked as a leader in advancing the use of information technology in the development and delivery of Cooperative Extension education.

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Craig Wood

Craig Wood

Dr. Craig H. Wood, Associate Director, eXtension Initiative
Coordinator of Distance Learning for the College of Agriculture, has been associated with the University of Kentucky since 1985. He received his B.S. degree from Texas Tech University and both his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from New Mexico State University.

Prior to coordinating the Distance Learning programs in the College of Agriculture, he was the Extension Horse Specialist at the University of Kentucky. As the Extension Horse Specialists, Dr. Wood was in charge all adult and youth equine programming with in the state, taught undergraduate equine courses and managed the teaching/research facility. He received the Outstanding Young Extension Specialist award in 1989 and the M.D. Whitaker Excellence in Extension award in 1993. In 1995, he was awarded the Young Animal Scientist Award – Education, by the Southern Section of the American Society of Animal Science.

His course The Art and Science of Equine Production was awarded the “Best Distance Learning Program in Higher Education in 1993″ by Telecon Magazine and the United States Distance Learning Association. Dr. Wood continues to be actively involved in undergraduate instruction as Coordinator of Distance Learning for the College of Agriculture, by teaching courses via satellite, developing and delivering web-based educational material for not only post-secondary students, but also K-12 students.

Dr. Wood assists faculty in the College of Agriculture at the University of Kentucky in developing and delivering extension and instructional material through the use of various medium and technologies. In addition to his professional duties, he is actively involved in breeding Thoroughbred, Quarter Horses, Paint Horses and Fox Hunters.