Marcy Simpson is the new executive director of the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council. A lifelong southwest Michigan resident, she succeeds Millicent Huminsky, who recently retired after serving the council for 37 years. Brandi Tucker has been appointed to fill Simpson’s previous role as office manager. Sarah Steffens has also joined the organization, replacing Tucker as group sales and marketing coordinator.
Simpson started with the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council four years ago. Before that, she spent 14 years as director of operations at The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph and has worked in the hospitality industry in a variety of capacities over the years. In her new role, Simpson is responsible for marketing and operations for tourism attractions, businesses, festivals, and events in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. She says she’s looking forward to continuing to build on the partnerships the council has formed over the years and exploring new ways to promote the region.
“We have the opportunity to grow our meetings and events in southwest Michigan,” Simpson says. “We have become very popular for destination weddings over the last five to 10 years. I see meetings and events following that way …. In addition, the opportunity to continue marketing our larger destinations in our area while taking a closer look at what the small towns have to offer visitors. We have some real hidden gems."
Tucker has been with the council for more than four years. She started in group sales and membership. As for Steffens, she will focus on attracting more weddings, meetings, conventions, reunions, and group tours to the region. She’ll also help the council broaden participation from area tourism businesses, restaurants, and attractions. “I understand how important the tourist council is to the success of small businesses,” Steffens says. “It brings people to our community—not just in the summer, but all year.”