• Tourism Vancouver's President & CEO Rick Antonson to Leave in 2014

    POSTED June 4, 2014

Photo courtesy of Mike Phang Photography.

Tourism Vancouver (British Columbia) is bidding goodbye to President & CEO Rick Antonson this month. Antonson has been at the helm of Vancouver’s destination marketing organization for two decades and has been at the forefront of some of its most exciting successes. Under his leadership, the organization launched the bid for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games and initiated the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Taskforce. Other programs and events that began under his helm, were the city’s annual clean-up initiative  Keep Vancouver Spectacular, the annual restaurant promotion Dine Out Vancouver Festival, and Tickets Tonight, a same-day, half-price ticket outlet for sports, performing arts and cultural events.

On April 22, more than 600 members of Vancouver’s tourism community gathered at the Vancouver Convention Centre to formally bid adieu to Antonson. The event included some of his favorite foods, including hot dogs, popcorn and wine.

In addition to serving as CEO of Tourism Vancouver, Antonson also chaired Destination Marketing Association International (based in Washington, DC), served as deputy chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, was a founding board member of the Canadian Tourism Commission and is currently president of Pacific Coast Public Broadcasting. He is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Antonson is leaving to become a full-time author. His books to date include To Timbuktu for a Haircut: A Journey Through West Africa, Route 66 Still Kicks: Driving America's Main Street, and the forthcoming Full Moon Over Noah's Ark: An Odyssey to Mount Ararat. He also co-authored Slumach's Gold: In Search of a Legend.

On behalf of Northwest Meetings + Events, best of luck, Rick, on your exciting new venture and we’ll see you at the next book signing!

Steve Faulstick has been named interim general manager of visitor venues for Portland Metro, the regional government. In this role, announced less than two weeks after Broadway shows returned to area theaters and conference attendees gathered again for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Faulstick will oversee the region’s portfolio of venues, including the Oregon Convention Center, Portland’5 Centers for the Arts and Portland Expo Center. He has agreed to serve until a permanent general manager of visitor venues is in place.


After a hiatus, the Washington County Visitors Association is back in the meetings business. Wendy Popkin will be joining the organization as vice president of destinations on November 1, 2021, to lead the organization’s direct group sales efforts to meeting professional, sports, organizers and travel professionals.

“We are extremely excited to have a leader of Wendy’s caliber joining our organization and are confident that she will bring measurable success to our destination,” says Dave Parulo, president and CEO of the WCVA.


Michael Grande has been named executive chef at Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, the city’s only Forbes Five-Star property. In this new role, Grande will direct all culinary at the downtown hotel, including catering at the property’s 10,570 square feet of event space, in-room dining for the 147 guest rooms and suites, helming day-to-day operations at signature restaurant Goldfinch Tavern and overseeing seasonal pop-up restaurant and private cabana dining at the outdoor infinity-edge pool.