The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau held its Annual Lunch today at the Yakima Convention Center. Making one of his first speaking engagements in Washington was Steve Warner, the new Executive Director of the Washington Wine Commission. Mr. Warner started work with the commission in March, previously working for Merck & Co., Inc., where he was Managing Director based in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to that, he held General Manager and marketing positions in global and regional marketing in the Asia Pacific region and led teams while living in Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and several domestic markets. Mr. Warner holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from East Tennessee State University and a master’s of business administration in international business and finance from Rutgers University.
Born and raised in Washington State, including living in the Cle Elum and Roslyn areas of Central Washington, Mr. Warner graduated from West Seattle High School. He served in the United States military’s Special Operations Command, first as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and then as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy.
At the event he discussed the commission’s new Strategic Plan, the future of Washington wine and its role in tourism.
In addition, the Visitors Bureau presented the Chairman’s Award to Al DeAtley and Janet Leduc of Washington Wine Country. The award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an organization or individual for generating economic vitality for the Yakima Valley.
Special recognition awards were presented to the Yakima County Commissioners for their support of new signing to the wineries and David McFadden of New Vision-Yakima County Development Association for coordinating the sign project with the wineries and Yakima County staff.
The mission of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau is to stimulate economic development by marketing the Yakima Valley for conventions, groups and leisure travel.