Kent Tourism’s interim chief will stay on the job as new president

DOVER — After conducting a nationwide search and receiving hundreds of applications, Kent County Tourism Corp. officials discovered that the right person for the job as their president was right in front of their eyes.

Pete Bradley, who had previously served on the organization’s board of directors and most recently served as the interim president of Kent County Tourism on a 90-day basis from May 1 until July 31, was announced on Monday as the tourism organization’s new president.

“I initially signed on as the interim president for just a 90-day period. That was the original arrangement,” Mr. Bradley said. “As time went on I kind of liked the position and the feeling was mutual with the executive community. We have a great staff here and I’m excited with this new position to drive tourism and overnight stays to Kent County. There’s a lot to offer here.

“I’m looking forward to continuing our efforts of promoting tourism and Delaware’s Quaint Villages by driving economic impact for the community through the attraction of visitors.”

Mr. Bradley replaces Wendie Vestfall, who joined Kent County Tourism in January 2016 and spearheaded the corporation’s rebranding to “Delaware’s Quaint Villages” in late 2016 and the launch of their mobile visitor center – dubbed “The Villager” – in 2017. Ms. Vestfall left the organization at the beginning of 2019.

Gary Camp, chairman of the board of directors of Kent County Tourism Corp., said Ms. Vestfall left Kent County Tourism for another career opportunity.

“Wendie left for a great opportunity in Charlotte County, Fla. (at the beginning of the year), and we wish her nothing but the best,” Mr. Camp said.
“She left on great terms and did a nice job of helping to create a refreshed brand identity for Kent County in her three years with us.”

Kent County Tourism labels itself as the destination marketing organization for the county, and its incorporated cities and towns.

Its goal is to “lead the tourism industry to work together to generate visitor spending by developing and implementing comprehensive destination marketing programs.” It is a self-governing private not-for-profit corporation.

Mr. Camp said Mr. Bradley should ease into the role as president quite seamlessly.
“Pete (Bradley) has provided a steady presence in the office as we continued our search for a new president,” Mr. Camp said. “We were thrilled when Pete expressed interested in continuing on in a full-time capacity, and his strong relationships within the communities we serve make him a great fit.

“He has a strong handle on issues impacting the tourism industry and will hit the ground running as we continue our work to bring visitors to our area. We wish Pete nothing but this best in this new role.”

Mr. Bradley previously served as vice president and general manager of casino operations for Dover Downs Hotel & Casino for 16 years. In his position, he directly oversaw all gaming-related operations, including slots, table games, marketing, VIP services and security operations.
Prior to his time at Dover Downs, he was with the Caesars organization for 17 years in positions ranging from internal auditor to assistant vice president of internal audit to casino controller for Caesars Atlantic City.

Mr. Bradley said his experience in the casino industry should suit him well with tourism.
“I’ve been a long-time person in the casino industry,” he said. “Life’s about new chapters and I’m really excited about this one. What I bring to this position, I was on the other side working at Dover Downs and I believe I have a sensitivity and an appreciation about how hard you have to work and compete to make a difference. My role (with tourism) is to support our customers – which are our attractions.”

Mr. Bradley is a graduate of Saint Joseph’s University with BS degrees in food marketing and accounting. He is a longtime board member and past board president of Autism Delaware.
In his role as president of Kent County Tourism, he is expected to “direct and lead the corporation toward its mission.”

Mr. Bradley is now responsible for all operational functions, shaping and developing organizational strategies for the corporation, and identifying opportunities and areas for improvement.

He is also responsible for strategic business development and key planning issues that relate to and impact the corporation.
The role of president will also determine resource allocation among budget items and keep the board of directors informed about business activities, performance opportunities and recommended courses of action.

He said he’s just excited at the chance to hit the ground running.
“In the interim position I got a good sense of how much we have to offer here in Kent County from DE Turf, our major attractions (such as Dover Downs and Dover International Speedway), museums and Bombay Hook,” Mr. Bradley said.

“There are so many different attractions. It’s just a great place with great attractions and great customer service. I’m really looking forward to this new role.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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