• Meet Chris Romer, Vail Valley Partnership

    FROM THE Fall 2016 ISSUE

    Vail Valley Partnership President and CEO discusses work/life balance and the meetings and events outlook for his thriving area. 

Many years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, young Chris Romer developed a plan to attend college at University of Colorado - Boulder in hopes of moving to the mountains of Colorado. It made good sense, placing himself geographically in the state he hoped someday to call home, checking out career possibilities and making the transition after graduation. The plan panned out as Romer lives and works in the Vail Valley, where he has been employed at Vail Valley Partnership (VVP) for the past 10 years, first as director of sales and marketing and now as president and CEO for the past seven years, and previously by other entities in group sales. 

“Tourism and hospitality has long held a spot in my heart,” he says, “the thought being that you can save your time and money to vacation in the mountains, or you can choose to live and make a career in the mountains.”

Romer and his team address all manner of Chamber, destination sales and marketing, and economic development business with VVP. He also serves on numerous industry boards and committees, including his current role as president of the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. 

One of the keys to Romer’s success is integration of work and play. “I prefer to view work as part of my life, and integrate work into my life,” he says. “For example, we encourage staff to ski (or attend yoga classes or take a mountain bike ride) during traditional business hours, with the understanding they are expected to get their work done. It’s more important to me that our team views their career with Vail Valley Partnership from a client-service mindset, and what better way to build that culture than by building a work environment that values people as individuals with individual needs and motivations rather than a blanket policy around hours and time off?”

For his own work/life balance, Romer enjoys skiing, running—he completed his first marathon last fall—and volunteering regularly at his daughter’s school. 

He describes the current state of the meetings and events industry in the Vail area as “strong and growing stronger. We’ve been fortunate to add national brands such as Four Seasons and Westin to our portfolio of boutique and independent lodging options, providing a variety of options for meeting professionals. … I’m particularly excited about Epic Discovery [a full slate of adventure-activity offerings that debuted this summer] and the team-building options this brings to our community and to our meeting attendees.”

Gary Schirmacher is devoted to serving others and the industry he cherishes.

Gary Schirmacher, CMP, is one of only two people who have chaired the global foundations for both Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). It is fair to say he is one of the most connected individuals in the meetings and events industry, as no one gets elected to international roles such as these without excelling at building relationships, fundraising, and bringing expertise to the table.


During the height of COVID-19, 26-year-old Anna Zesbaugh was furloughed from her creative manager position at ACCESS Destination Services - Colorado. As venues turned into ghost towns, an initial six weeks turned into six months and then became permanent. Like the proverbial lemons to lemonade, she decided to take something bitter and transform it into something better. For her, it was the probiotic, stomach-fortifying drink, kombucha—in this case, the hard kind.


Uncharted Society works with outfitters across the globe to give groups and individuals the opportunity to try motorsports on BRP-certified vehicles. Teams can bond in some of the nation’s most beautiful spots on a wide range of nature tours offered on land, snow, and sea. Check out these three examples from Colorado and Utah.