These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Loftus was recently hired as vice president of communications for Visit Pittsburgh.
1. What are you most looking forward to in your new role as vice president of communications for Visit Pittsburgh?
The VisitPITTSBURGH staff is made up of some of the most progressive and creative individuals I have ever been associated with, and I look forward to working with them to passionately promote and champion my hometown of Pittsburgh and all of our partners. In addition, as a public relations professional, it is so cool to be promoting such a well-established and respected brand name as Pittsburgh.
2. How do you think your past industry experience has prepared you for this role?
I enjoyed working in the hospitality industry for 10 years, and, now, I am delighted to be working in the travel and tourism industry. I look forward to working with our partners, who, every day, are showing visitors what makes Pittsburgh special. Based on my hospitality experience, I understand our partners’ needs when it comes to providing communications and public relations support, and I share their mission of taking care of the customer.
3. What goals do you have in mind for Visit Pittsburgh for this year and farther down the line?
I am joining a communications department with a proven and well-respected communications director and communications manager—they are talented and have warmly welcomed me to the team, so my first goal is to learn from them and to share our experiences and best practices. My primary future goal is to ensure VisitPITTSBURGH, our partners and the city of Pittsburgh remain in the most positive light, so that both people who have never visited our city and those who have will return again and again.
4. How did you get into the hospitality industry?
It was the first big break of my career. I was hired to create a communications department with Pittsburgh—based Interstate Hotels Corp., which at the time, managed or owned 45 hotels and had been founded by two Pittsburgh attorneys. I was fortunate to be there as the company went from a small private company to a large private company, through an IPO and a merger, to become the largest independent hotel management company in the U.S with more than 300 hotels. It was a dream job and now I have another one!
5. What do you enjoy most about Pittsburgh?
Even for a native Pittsburgher, It’s the hidden surprises that make Pittsburgh special. Every morning I walk the Roberto Clemente, Andy Warhol and Rachel Carson bridges, and whether it is the beautiful early morning skyline of the city or a rowing team silently ripping across the river or a group of runners jogging in the shadows of picturesque PNC Park, I receive stunning reminders of who I work for and of the city we are proudly promoting.
6. Any additional comments?
On behalf of our staff, I invite you to Visit Pittsburgh--you will love it. We do!