The Discover Lehigh Valley board of directors voted to appoint Alex Michaels as its next president. Michaels, a former Lehigh Valley resident and 1987 Whitehall High School graduate, will bring more than 25 years of executive sales and management experience within the hospitality and tourism, and sports council industries to his position. In March, Discover Lehigh Valley’s current and long-time president, Michael Stershic, announced he would retire at the end of 2018. Michaels will start on October 1, 2018 to overlap with the end of Stershic’s tenure to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.
Most recently, Michaels served as vice president of sales and services for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge and as chief operating officer for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Sports Council. Prior to that, he held positions as director of national accounts and director of sales at Visit Jacksonville Convention and Visitors Bureau—where he was named top producer for eight consecutive years and honored with the Rising Star Award by Meeting Professionals International. He also held the role of senior sales manager at Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additionally, he served in the United States Navy, enlisting as a medical specialist before taking on roles of purchasing manager and hospital corpsman. He earned nine awards and five medals from 2001 to 2005, including the Navy and Marine Corp Achievement Medal for service above and beyond the call of duty.
“After an extensive search process, we are pleased to welcome Alex to our organization—and back to Lehigh Valley,” said Kassie Hilgert, president and chief executive officer of ArtsQuest and chair of Discover Lehigh Valley’s board of directors. “We are confident that Alex’s leadership and experience within the tourism industry are a natural fit and will propel our efforts forward, helping build on the continued success that Michael Stershic has helped our organization accomplish over the last 14 years.”