MONTPELIER – Heather Pelham, the deputy commissioner of Vermont’s tourism and marketing department, will be taking replacing Wendy Knight as the department’s commissioner after Knight’s departure this summer, Gov. Phil Scott announced late last week.
According to a statement from Scott’s office, Pelham served as the department’s deputy commissioner since March 2019 and, before then, served as the state’s chief marketing officer for four years.
“Heather has spent five years with the Agency of Commerce, helping strengthen the Vermont brand and integrating marketing initiatives across state government,” Scott said in a statement. “Her creativity and expertise will be valuable as we work to advance this critical work.”
Vermont’s Dept. of Tourism and Marketing is a branch of the Agency of Commerce. The department is charged with promoting Vermont as a tourism destination, an increasingly prevalent part of Vermont’s economy.
According to a 2018 report released by the department, the tourism industry brings more than 13 million visitors and $2.8 billion annually to Vermont.
“Tourism is a critical driver of our economy and often the first point of contact we have with potential new Vermonters looking to move to our state,” Scott said. “Building national awareness of Vermont as a desirable place to visit, as well as live and work, is key to expanding our workforce and growing our economy.”
According to Scott’s office, Pelham, a Randolph Center resident and the former managing partner of an advertising firm in central Vermont, comes into the commissioner’s position with two decades of experience in marketing, creative services and project management.
She had also had a creative leadership role in Think Vermont, the state’s economic development marketing effort.
“I’m honored to be appointed to this new role and for the opportunity to continue to work toward the Governor’s goal of growing the state’s economy,” said Pelham. “Vermont has a long tradition of hospitality; welcoming guests to our inns, shops, restaurants and attractions, and making them feel at home in our communities.
“This Vermont experience is central to our brand and it is a true privilege to share the story of Vermont as world-class destination to not only visit, but work, live, and do business in.”
Knight stepped down in June this year.