Two Alaskans Elected to Board of Directors of US Travel Association
FAIRBANKS, AK—Camille Ferguson, executive director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, and Deb Hickok, president and CEO of Explore Fairbanks, were recently elected to three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the US Travel Association.
Ferguson is Tlingit from the Kiksadi Clan and a citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. During her 31-year career in the tourism industry, she has served as the Economic Development Director for Sitka Tribe of Alaska and on the board of the Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau. Ferguson began the annual Alaska Heritage and Cultural Tourism Conference; and served as general manager for Shee Atika Corporation’s Totem Square Inn, a native-owned hotel. Under her leadership, AIANTA received national recognition when presented with the President’s “E” Award for Exports by the President of the United States for increasing exports. She served as interim executive director of AIANTA from July to December 2011 and became director in 2013.
Hickok has been professional in the field of destination marketing and management for nearly 37 years. She worked in Pennsylvania tourism until moving to Alaska in 1999 to become CEO of Explore Fairbanks. Throughout her career, Hickok has served in various leadership roles in both states. She previously served on the US Travel Destinations Council. Under her guidance, Explore Fairbanks has received numerous awards, including the Governor of Alaska’s Exporter of the Year Award and the Destiny Award from the US Travel Destinations Council. Hickok currently serves on two other boards of directors, the Alaska Travel Industry Association which she chaired in 2011 and the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.
Both Ferguson and Hickok are recipients of the Denali Award from the Alaska Travel Industry Association which “is presented to a living individual for his or her outstanding leadership, professional excellence, and personal contribution to the Alaska travel industry.” They are the first Alaskans to serve on the US Travel board.
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The Marx Bros. Café
Jack Amon and Richard “Van” Hale opened the doors of the Marx Bros. Café on October 18, 1979; however, the two had already been partners in cuisine for some time, having created the Wednesday Night Gourmet Wine Tasting Society and Volleyball Team Which Now Meets on Sunday, a weekly evening of food and wine. It was actually the end of the weekly event that spurred the name of the restaurant: hours after its final service, Amon and Hale were hauling equipment and furnishings out of their old location and to their now-iconic building on Third Street, all while managing arguments about equipment ownership, a visit from the police, and quite a bit of wine. “If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘A Night at the Opera” starring the Marx Brothers, that’s what it was like,” Hale explains.