ALAMOSA — Kale Mortensen was named the new executive director of Alamosa’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Thursday evening during the Alamosa County Marketing District Board meeting following a lengthy selection process. Mortensen replaces Jamie Greeman, who left in September to start her own candy store.
“I’m excited to step up into this role and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” Mortensen said Thursday. “I’m excited for Alamosa because it’s in a prime position to see growth in tourism.”
San Luis Valley native Mortensen, 27, contested for the position with SLV Small Business Development Center Director Jeff Owsley—who took a leave of absence from the board to not create a conflict of interest—and Chris Cole, a tourism project manager from Sarasota, Florida who grew up in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The selection was initially scheduled to happen shortly after their interviews on Jan. 4. However, the caliber of competition led to more discussion and a 30-minute executive session on Jan. 11.
“This was a very, very difficult decision for us to make as a board,” said Alamosa County Marketing District Board President Rob Oringdulph after the executive session. “You are very strong candidates and we tussled with this.”
Mortensen has worked with Greeman at the welcome center for the past two years as manager. Before that Adams State University Marketing Professor Liz Thomas Hensley, and marketing district board member, inspired him to major in the field.
“It felt right,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “It was an exciting industry to go into with lots of different possibilities. I never thought I would be working in tourism when I got that degree. Marketing can really lead anywhere.”
With family members as alumni and the opportunity to continue golfing, Mortensen felt the choice to attend ASU was the correct one.
“Everyone that grows up here has that sense of wanting to experience something new or get out of here,” he said. “I’m glad I made that decision to stay.”
He believes his fresh eyes will help bring about growth. “We need to make sure we’re being innovative and staying up with the times. Especially in marketing, things are always changing.”
The new executive director thanked Greeman along with past and current board members for laying the groundwork for the organization. He hopes to make it more community-driven than before.
“I’m wanting to have these conversations to see how we can improve and make this place even better than it is. My door is always open and my phone is always on.”