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New Date Set for Annual Meeting, Sept. 26th

The 2017-2018 Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge in Guntersville. Registration fee for the annual meeting is $50 per person and includes all events the day of the annual meeting. Registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.
The conference was moved from the original date of September 27 to accommodate a scheduling conflict with the state park, according to AMLA President/CEO Tami Reist.
“The theme for this year’s conference is ‘North AL: The Year of Discovery’ which is in preparation for the upcoming Alabama Bicentennial celebration,” said Reist.
“I encourage all of the region’s tourism professionals to attend the conference. It will be the perfect time to network with your fellow professionals, receive a comprehensive recap of the year, expand their tourism knowledge with an excellent line-up of speakers, and gain insight into what the future holds,” she said.
The AMLA annual meeting will be held in the park’s convention center located at 1155 Lodge Drive, Guntersville, AL. A special conference rate of $91 for a Double Queen per night is available until September 15 by calling and asking for the AMLA conference rate. Call 256-505-6621 to make your room reservations. Please mention you are with the AL Mountain Lakes Annual Meeting – Group Code 6970. Guests can also make reservations online at www.alapark.com/lakeguntersville.
Located on a bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, Lake Guntersville Resort State Park is a resort style retreat encompassing 6,000 acres of natural woodlands. Among the park’s many recreational offerings are an 18-hole championship golf course, a beach complex, an outdoor nature center, excellent fishing in Alabama’s largest lake, and 36 miles of hiking and biking.

The Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau will be hosting a complimentary reception the evening before the annual meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 6-8 p.m. at Jules J. Berta Vineyards in Albertville.
“It will be an evening of local wine, homemade pizza and music as we celebrate another great year in North Alabama Tourism,” said Katy Norton, Marshall County CVB director.
To properly plan for the free evening of events, guests are requested to RSVP at the same time they register for the Annual Meeting.

An exciting group of speakers and seminars have been confirmed for the annual meeting. The day’s events will begin at 9 a.m. with welcoming messages from AMLA Chair Hugh Stump, Guntersville Mayor Mayor Leigh Dollar, Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Katy Norton, and Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell. Jay Lamar, Executive Director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, will be on hand to provide an update of bicentennial events and activities.
Session 1 of the day will be lead by Mary Ila Ward, founded Horizon Point Consulting, discussing “Team Building in the Workplace.”
Ward, of Decatur, started her company in 2011 with a drive to move the workplace forward through innovative people practices. With a background in corporate recruiting, economic and workforce development, talent management and leadership coaching and training, Mary Ila helps employers and communities focus on growth by challenging leaders to push the limits through forward thinking cultures and practices that are grounded in sound research and science.
She graduated from The University of Alabama, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and rounded out a formal education with a Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, where her thesis focused on leadership emergence. Mary Ila is SHRM-SCP certified, a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and a Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) and Career Development Facilitator (CDF) Instructor.
Session 2 will present “Your Best Unlimited” by Dr. Dale Henry. After earning his B.S. and M.S. in Secondary Education, Dr. Henry completed his Ph.D. in 1991 with a concentration in the area of Adult and Continuing Education.
He has served as an educator, administrator, author, speaker, trainer, consultant and entrepreneur. In 1994, he was appointed Associate Dean of Professional and Graduate Studies for Tennessee’s oldest College, Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee. Years of consulting and speaking in seminars and inservice trainings throughout the country, facilitated another transition into public speaking and professional development. Dale Henry has been honored with numerous business and educational awards and prides himself in being a master teacher.
Session 3 features Neville Bhada addressing “Practical Strategic Plans.” Bhada, of Atlanta, is the founder and CEO of Tourism Skills Group, a company that focuses on the strategic planning, research and marketing needs of the travel and tourism community, and association industries.
He serves on the boards of the Atlanta Metro Travel Association as well as Georgia State University’s School of Hospitality Industry Advisory Board. Bhada speaks domestically and internationally on a wide variety of tourism topics – from international tourism to defending budgets and has spoken to numerous governor’s conferences on travel.
He currently teaches within the Cecil B. Day School of Hospitality at Georgia State University teaching hospitality and tourism as an adjunct professor. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in international business and a master’s degree from Clemson University in travel and tourism. Clemson University recently inducted Neville into its “Outstanding Alumnus” circle for his work in advancing tourism.
Session 4 will examine digital marketing and will be presented by Amy Jones, who has been a marketing professional in Huntsville for almost 20 years. She has a diverse background in marketing, special events and public relations from the corporate world, shopping center management, and non-profit arts.
Today Amy is an account manager with Move Digital Group, a digital marketing agency based in Huntsville. As an account manager, Amy helps her clients tell their story through a dynamic digital footprint. She is also the web content manager for Our Valley Events, a hyper-local website keeping the Rocket City in-the-know.

The 2018 PEAK Awards Luncheon will begin at noon with AMLA’S Visitor Service Rep Randy Paul Stepleton serving as Master of Ceremonies. The event will also include the presentation of the 2019 Southeast Tourism Society Tourism College scholarships.
Special entertainment during the luncheon will be provided by Mark Narmore, who hails from the music mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He grew up on those soulful sounds of the area and has emulated them in his songwriting and performing for the past 30 years. Narmore has had over 80 major recordings to his credit including the likes of Josh Turner, John Michael Montgomery, Terri Clark, Craig Morgan, Shenandoah, Blackhawk, Brandy Clark, Sylvia, Tracy Lawrence and Michelle Wright.
Over his career he has been blessed to have had stints at Fame Publishing in Muscle Shoals, Reba McEntire’s Starstruck Music Group in Nashville, March Music, SONY ATV Tree Publishing and is currently a staff writer at Noble Vision Music Group whose past writers and artists include Tony Arata and Jim Glaser.
Mark’s first country hit was “The Moon Over Georgia” by Shenandoah, followed by Blackhawk’s “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday”. In 2005, Mark co-wrote the most played country song at radio that year and also Billboard’s #8 song for the 2000’s decade, “That’s What I Love About Sunday”. Mark was awarded a bronze star in the lobby of the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in the Shoals for his achievements. Mark has 13 Josh Turner cuts, all of which he co-wrote except for two.
The AMLA Board Meeting at 3 p.m. will include the presentation of the 2018-2019 Program of Work and Budget.
“AMLA has become known for our innovative marketing programs and this coming year will be different as we will be presenting a number of new social, audio and visual concepts to help promote North Alabama,” said Reist.
The day’s event conclude with the announcement of door prize winners.

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