Visit Indy Management Team

James Wallis – Executive Vice President

James began his Visit Indy career in 1990 as accounting manager with previous experience on the audit staff at Arthur Young (now Ernst & Young). During his time at Visit Indy James has increased visitor quantity by 50%; designed and implemented an ROI-based flexible pricing model for the Indiana Convention Center; implemented systems to measure the economic impact of conventions and meetings; coordinated a statewide approach to economic impact for the state and many Indiana counties; fostered the creation of the Indiana Sports Impact Calculator; secured new sources of revenue; restructured the team to align with new goals and the changing environment; and designed and implemented custom productivity solutions including customer relationship management (CRM), content management systems, and business intelligence solutions. James serves on the boards of the Indiana Tourism Association (past president), Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site (past chair), and the FBI Indianapolis Citizens Academy and was appointed to the Indiana Tourism Council by Governor Eric Holcomb. He is a CPA and a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. James and his wife Missy have three children, Lincoln, Landon, and Katelyn.


Chris Gahl – Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Chris has been at Visit Indy since 2005. Prior to Visit Indy, he was part owner of a marketing firm in Honolulu, helping Hawaii tourism. In 2012, Chris helped lead public relations for the Super Bowl Host Committee. He was named a “Forty under 40” business leader by the Indianapolis Business Journal in 2013 and was a member of the 2014 Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Class. Chris co-chaired the city’s Plan 2020 Love Indy Committee in 2015 and in 2016 helped launch the city’s Film Indy initiative, which helps attract television and film-related production to Indy. Chris holds a degree in communications from Butler University and serves on the Butler University Board of Trustees and on the boards of the St. Vincent Foundation and Indiana Humanities. He and his wife Catherine have two boys, Kanoa and Kai.


Daren Kingi – Senior Vice President of Sales

Daren joined Visit Indy in 2014 after a distinguished 29-year career in the hospitality industry with Hilton Hotels and Marriott International, most recently serving as vice president of sales, Western Mountain Pacific Area, for Marriott International. In that role, he was responsible for overall sales and market share growth of 65 of Marriott's Managed hotels in five major markets including San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City, Portland, and Seattle. Prior to that Daren served as vice president of sales & marketing for Renaissance Hotels North America and market sales leader for Marriott's New York City hotels. In Daren's short time with Visit Indy he has led the team to record-breaking results. Daren is married to Sandra, and together they have seven children, Caitlin, David, Noah, Gabriella, Emma, Julia, and Giovani.


Susie Townsend – Senior Vice President of Visitor Experience

Susie has been part of the hospitality and meeting professional industry for over 30 years. She is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Business with a degree in Marketing. Susie started her career working for Hyatt Hotels and for the past 30 years has been with Visit Indy having roles in both sales and services. In her current role Susie oversees convention services, convention housing, and visitor experience. Susie was a loaned executive for the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee for Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. She has served as the chair or on the board for local organizing committees for the United States Conference of Mayors, the NCAA Men’s Final Four, the NCAA Women’s Final Four, and currently is serving on the Meeting Professionals International Global Board of Trustees. In addition, Susie is a lecturer for the TCEM (Tourism, Convention, and Event Management) Department at IUPUI. Susie is married to Bill and is the proud mom of two children, Matt and Rebecca.


Janet Arnold – Vice President of Partner Relations

Janet has served as Vice President for Partner Relations since 2010. She develops and retains key relationships and partnerships for the organization, working with local corporate and civic leaders to identify their links to new convention/meeting business, and promotes leisure travel in Central Indiana. Prior to Visit Indy, Janet was vice president for institutional advancement at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and also served as director of development at Conner Prairie. Earlier in her career, Janet lived in New York City, raising funds for United Nations peacekeeping operations. She is a graduate of Hillsdale College and additionally holds an MBA in business/arts management from the University of Durham, UK. Janet currently serves on the board of directors for the Immigrant Welcome Center, Indianapolis, and also serves as co-chair of the Hospitality Advisory Board at Ivy Tech Community College. She is married and lives in Marion County.


Matt Carter – Vice President of Destination Development/Executive Director of Music Crossroads

Matt began his career at Visit Indy in 1985 after serving as a commercial banking analyst for Indiana National Bank (now Regions Bank). He currently leads destination development efforts for Visit Indy and also has served as CFO and COO during his tenure. Matt focuses his efforts on tourism master planning—aligning business intelligence and placemaking for the betterment of Indy to its residents and visitors. Matt led efforts to create the first destination tourism master plan in the U.S. and was the creator of MusicCrossroads—a strategy that has led to the relocation of multiple cultural organizations (Music for All, Percussive Arts Society, Drum Corps International, and USA Football) and their convention and related events and has created or committed to over $1 billion worth of business for the city since its inception in 2007. Matt currently serves on the technical team of the White River Regional Plan; steering committee for Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW); boards of Goodwill Industries of Central & Southern Indiana Foundation and Shepherd Community Center; and is an executive committee member of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation. He was a founding board member (treasurer) of Leadership Indianapolis and former chairman of the board for Music for All. Matt was appointed by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch to serve on the Indiana Tourism Task Force and by Mayor Joe Hogsett to serve on the Indianapolis Greenways Development Committee. Matt is a graduate of the College of Business at Ball State University. Matt is married to Leslie, and they are parents of quadruplet daughters, Abigail, Elizabeth, Katelin, and Katherine and son Ben (deceased).


 
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