Virginia Haley, CDME
Virginia Haley has served at the helm of Visit Sarasota County (VSC) since 1999. VSC is an independent partnership organization serving all of Sarasota County and delivers an innovative $4.5 million tourism marketing campaign to benefit the citizens of Sarasota. Previously, Virginia was Director of Communications & Government Relations at Mote Marine Laboratory. Virginia came to Sarasota in 1989 to run the local office for Congressman Porter Goss. Prior to that time, she worked in Washington, D.C. in President Ronald Reagan’s administration as the Director of Scheduling, Security and Protocol for the Department of Health and Human Services and she worked on Capitol Hill for a number of years
Virginia is a past Chair of VISIT FLORIDA and Destinations Florida. She serves on the Board for the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club. Virginia was a leader in founding the Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 community redevelopment effort that is now known at The Bay.
Executive Director, Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Elliott’s 30-year career has allowed him to work for two organizations; the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club in Pittsburgh, and for the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
During his business career, Elliott has always surrounded himself with talented and hardworking individuals that has helped him serve customers in a unique manner. Any success he has experienced in his career has resulted in an empowered creative staff and strong community partnerships.
A few of Elliott’s philosophies include:
- “It’s not about what you have accomplished in the past, it’s what you have accomplished today.”
- “Having unconditional love for people can only help you succeed in your career and life.”
- “A higher education is really important; but being honest with yourself and maintaining a positive attitude is paramount.”
Frederick "Rick" Piccolo, A. A. E.
President, CEO Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport
Fredrick Piccolo has over forty-nine years’ experience in the aviation industry and has been President, Chief Executive Officer of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport since 1995. He began his career as a janitor at the Buffalo International Airport, and after earning a BS degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo, held several airport positions that include Building Superintendent, Property Manager, Assistant to Airport Manager, and Assistant Director of Operations. Locally, he worked in the Operations Department at Tampa International Airport and prior to his position at SRQ, he was the Assistant Airport Director at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.
Mr. Piccolo has served as President of the Florida Airports Council. He has achieved executive accreditation to the American Association of Airport Executives, the largest professional airport managers association in the world. Mr. Piccolo served as the 2007 Chairman of the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), an aviation organization that represents local, regional, state, and national governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States, Canada, and the Virgin Islands. From 2013 through 2015, he also served as Chairman on the Board of Directors of Airports Council International - World, which unites all the airports in the world into a single organization. With the departure of the ACI-World Past Chairman in January 2018, he has accepted that position at the request of the ACI World Board through 2021.
The Florida Department of Transportation selected Mr. Piccolo as the 2005 Aviation Professional of the Year. The Federal Aviation Administration also chose him as the 2005 Airport Manager of the Year. In October 2009, Airport Revenue News announced Mr. Piccolo as the winner of the “Small Airport CEO of the Year for 2009.” Members of the aviation industry nationwide vote on this award.
Mr. Piccolo is past Chair of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and is a past recipient of the Premier Volunteer Award, an honor given for his significant leadership commitment to the Chamber and community. In November 2018, he was honored with the Rick Fawley Economic Development Award of Distinction presented by the Bradenton EDC. He is currently a member of the campus Board of Trustees, University of South Florida/Sarasota Manatee, serves on the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Bradenton Economic Development Council Board of Directors. He was recently appointed to the Board of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Association and served as Chair of the United Way Suncoast Campaign ending in the spring of 2020.
Senior VP, Miles Partnership
Nate Huff is a Senior Vice President at Miles Partnership, a marketing agency that specializes in the travel and tourism vertical. Nate has spent the last 15 years working with destinations and travel partners to craft brands and develop digital content and media strategies that generate measurable results. He works with clients including Brand USA, San Francisco Travel, Discover Puerto Rico, Visit SLO, Visit Santa Barbara, St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Explore Minnesota. He is currently leading Miles Partnership’s Destination Optimization services, which were unveiled at Destination International’s 2017 Annual Conference and now include more than 200 participating destinations worldwide. When not travelling for work or fun, Nate spends his time playing competitive wiffle ball, racing old Japanese sports cars and watching his two young daughters dance.