President & CEO, Partner
A thirty-year veteran of the Travel & Tourism industry, Amir leads the entire team responsible for the development and execution of all facets of the organization from program development to customer acquisition and retention.
He joined Longwoods in 2015 from his previous role as Vice President, Partner Engagement with Brand USA, the public-private partnership serving as the destination marketing organization dedicated to increasing international visitation to the US. He led the team responsible for helping to increase Brand USA's partnership base and ensuring that participants received excellent service throughout Brand USA's deployment of joint marketing programs. During his tenure, Brand USA grew its base to 475 partners, comprised of destination marketing organizations, convention and visitor bureaus, attractions, travel brands, airlines, and tour operators.
Prior to joining Brand USA, Amir served as Director of the Ohio Office of Tourism. Under his leadership, the state's marketing programs realized a tremendous return on investment and contributed to the growth of the state's $40 billion tourism economy. The programs he developed leveraged industry and nontraditional partnerships that generated $14 in new state and local taxes for every $1 invested and included active participation by thousands of Ohio's tourism-related businesses. He has also served as Executive Vice President of the Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Assistant Director of the Ohio Tourism Division, and Sales & Marketing Manager with the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau.
He has been recognized with a number of Industry honors including: Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing award (2014) by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI); The Ohio Tourism Industry's Highest Honor, The Paul Sherlock Award; and The State of Ohio Distinguished Service Medal.
Amir holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Dayton.
Andy Longo currently works for Delta Tau Delta Fraternity where he serves as Director of Operations and Meetings. In this role, he oversees meetings and events, housing operations and support and organizational needs related to technology and vendor relationships.
A native of Springfield, Ohio, Longo received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Bowling Green State University. He also holds master’s degrees in college student personnel and guidance counseling from Bowling Green State University. Longo served as interim director of operations and director of chapter services for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity from 1998-2003. Prior to his work at Lambda Chi Alpha, he worked at the University of Oklahoma in Student Affairs. He began work as a public-school teacher in Ohio.
Longo is a former first lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Military Police Corps and is active in his Church. He is active in Choir and is an advocate of “assertive” stewardship programming and believes there is a need to have more honest conversations about money and giving in the Church. He is past president member of the Indiana Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. He and his wife, Lisa, are the parents of Emma, who attends IUPUI and Michael attends Indiana University.
Bethany Hartley currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer at the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, a collaboration of economic development partners in the South Bend - Elkhart Region, which encompasses 47 communities in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. The organization serves as a single point of contact for regional communication and seeks to advance economic opportunities for all partner members through collaborative promotion, marketing, and capacity building efforts.
Bethany has over a decade of experience in non-profit leadership, primarily focused on economic development and entrepreneurship. Bethany joined the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership in 2018, first as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and was promoted to Chief Strategy Officer in 2020. Prior to the Regional Partnership, Bethany held leadership positions with RISE | Regional Innovation and Startup Education, Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, Family and Children’s Center, and the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago.
Bethany has led a wide range of projects and initiatives including digital system transformations, organizational restructuring, large event management, and marketing and communications strategy. As a part of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, Hartley led the strategic development of new programs, digital-based infrastructure, and outreach initiatives.
Hartley holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago and certificates from the University of Notre Dame’s Master of Non-Profit Administration, Babson College, and Catalyst Inc. Hartley is also active in a wide range of community activities, including serving as a board member of Startup Moxie Elkhart County, a steering committee member of the Engaging Women Conference, a committee member for Beacon Health Systems, and a champion and fundraiser for Girls on the Run of Northern Indiana.
Education & Professional Accreditations
· Bachelor’s Degree, Loyola University Chicago
o University of Notre Dame’s Masters of Non-Profit Administration
o University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business
o Babson College
o Catalyst Inc.
· Startup Moxie Elkhart County, Board of Directors
· Engaging Women Conference, Steering Committee
· Beacon Health Systems, Committee Member
· Girls on the Run of Northern Indiana, Champion, and Fundraiser
More information is available for reference on Bethany’s LinkedIn profile.
Five Fun Facts about Bethany
1. In her personal time, Bethany enjoys cycling, running, reading, scuba diving, and spending time with her husband, two dogs, and four nieces.
2. Bethany competes in triathlons, including her first – but not last – 70.3 Ironman.
3. Regional Favorites Restaurant: “I have a lot of favorites when it comes to food, with my go-to spots being Bantam Chicken and Seafood in South Bend, Artisan in Elkhart, Goshen Brewing in... Goshen, and River St. Joe in Buchanan! All have great menus for even the pickiest of eaters!”
Outdoor Activity: “Too many to name!! I’m a big fan of all things running, biking, and swimming so I enjoy riding my bike in southwest Michigan, running the trails of Lydick Bog, and swimming in Lake Michigan.” Shop: “Our local boutiques are a must including Inspire Me! in the East Race neighborhood of South Bend, The Craftsman’s Daughter in downtown Elkhart, and pretty much any shop along Goshen’s main street.”
Cultural Activity: “My husband and I enjoy catching shows – whether it’s Broadway, comedy, or music – at the Morris Performing Arts Center.”
Best Way to Spend a Saturday in the Region: “We love to spend our mornings exercising at our local gym, follow by breakfast or brunch at Monterrey Mexican Grill in Mishawaka. Depending on the weather we’ll either head up the coast for some beach time or explore the South Bend Farmers Market, usually ending the day with a community-based event.”
Brian has been a part of the travel and tourism industry since 2003 and was the longtime Marketing Director at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau where he pioneered several digital and social media promotional programs that included various forms of content development and distribution. Brian received the Explore Minnesota Travel Marketing Excellence Award and the North Dakota’s Governor’s Award for Tourism Marketing for his efforts. He’s a well-recognized speaker at state, regional and national conferences and is known for his entertaining presentation style that makes his talking points stick with attendees. He’s a great asset to the development of any business or organization’s marketing initiatives due to his vast experience working directly with destinations, resorts, attractions, and small businesses along with his vast knowledge of digital marketing.
Jake Brown is nearing his fifth work anniversary at Visit South Bend Mishawaka, where he leads the DMO’s digital marketing efforts. Jake joined VSBM in 2018 after almost a decade in journalism at Irish Illustrated then the South Bend Tribune. eTourism Summit in 2021 named Jake an Emerging Tourism Star. The U.S. Travel Association’s Destinations Council named Jake to its Emerging Leaders Mentorship Program the same year. Away from work, Jake enjoys playing golf, exploring the outdoors and exploring his inner nerd by reading history books.
Jennifer Rubenstein graduated from Tri-State University (now Trine University) with an advertising and marketing degree. She worked for an NBC television affiliate in a senior account manager position, was the vice president of a video and event production company working with fortune 500 companies, and for the last 15 years owned her own marketing and events company and for the last 10 years has been the co-owner and publisher of the premiere local food magazine, Edible Indy. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of branding, creative marketing promotions and strategy, event production and sales. She is the recipient of the inaugural 2020 Kurt Friese Outstanding Community Service Award. She is a retired board member for the IWIN Foundation and hosts an annual golf outing and other food events for the Edible Indy Foundation of which she is a co-founder and president. Her passion and hobby is being a foodie and being an activist for understanding the importance of supporting local food and the sustainable food movement. Over the last 30 plus years, Jennifer and her mother traveled to many places and made a habit of finding local off the beaten path places to shop, eat and support local clean food. She uses Edible Indy as a resource for education and social justice for food sustainability. Since moving to Indy in 2007, she supports locally owned farmer’s markets, eateries, grocery stores and any other opportunities to promote and support to local business owners.
She is married with two daughters and resides in Indianapolis. Golf, cooking, entertaining, photography, deep sea fishing and giving back are important to her and her family. She grew up in Elkhart county (Goshen) and is forever an Irish fan.
Jodie is a Senior Marketing Services Manager with Barnes & Thornburg LLP for the Indianapolis, Raleigh, Los Angeles, San Diego and Salt Lake City offices. She manages three team members as well as events, sponsorships and client entertainment opportunities. In addition, she is part of the planning team for the annual Fall Partner Meeting in Indianapolis where over 400 attorneys attend to elect new partners and strategize for the next year.
Jodie is currently the Director of Retention and Recognition with the MPI Indiana Chapter.
Kyle Johnson is in his seventh year with the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, spearheading efforts to retarget visitors to the state as potential new residents. Prior to taking on that role, he spent six years as Digital Strategy Manager, overseeing all of Visit Indiana’s social and digital channels. Kyle was named an Emerging Tourism Star in 2021 by eTourism Summit. When he isn’t working to bring people to Indiana, he is busy coaching sports for his three kids, manages Instagram for his dog @hikingwithhickory, and hosts a weekly podcast with his 10-year-old son called “Father & Son: A Podcast About Indiana Football.”
After 22 years working in operations and human resources within the entertainment industry, Matt Heller founded Performance Optimist Consulting in 2011 with one simple goal - help leaders lead. He does this through personal coaching, interactive workshops, and large-scale learning experiences. He has written two books on employee engagement and leadership and hosts a weekly podcast focused on elevating the guest and employee experience. Matt, his wife Linda, and their dog Otis live in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Vince Kadlubek is a Founder of Meow Wolf, an art collective that has transformed into an award winning Art and Entertainment Production Company that specializes in immersive, open-world walk through experiences. Vince acted as leader and CEO for Meow Wolf though its formidable years, having created the business plan for Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return and leading the team towards the project's completion in March of 2016. In January of 2017 Kadlubek formed Meow Wolf, Inc as a full fledged arts production company and creative studio positioned to create the largest, most innovative and audacious monumental art exhibits in the world. After raising series A funding he announced two new Meow Wolf exhibits in Las Vegas and Denver, which both opened in 2021. Kadlubek has been a force of vision in the realm of experiential art, and in 2020 launched a creative consulting agency called Spatial Activations as a platform to usher in a new era of experiential art in modern developments and everyday life. Vince is most passionate about co-creating fully-realized alternative realities that bring paradigmshifting transformation and inspiration to the world.
Vince Slack has been the Meeting and Market Planning Manager at Do it Best Corp. since March 2012 and became an MPI member shortly thereafter. Vince’s main responsibilities for Do it Best’s semi-annual citywide markets include negotiating available dates and lease rates with the host city and convention center, hotel room blocks, and contracts for food and beverage, security, parking and shuttle service. In addition to the markets, Vince is also responsible for planning Do it Best’s quarterly board meetings, annual Eagles Conference and annual Do it Best Foundation golf outing. Vince has held the CMP designation since August 2014. In his previous role in the Merchandising division at Do it Best Corp. Vince was the Electrical Department Merchandise Manager for four years and the Associate Merchandise Manager of Outdoor Power Tools for one year. Vince graduated cum laude from Ball State University’s Honors College with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. After graduating, Vince enjoyed a seven year career in the front-office of two minor league baseball teams prior to working five years in the golf industry. Vince’s sport management background serves him well in his current role as both revolve around organizing events for large groups of people and being detail oriented to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Do it Best Corp. is a five billion dollar hardware distribution co-op based in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Founded in 1945 Do it Best has over 4,000 member stores throughout the United States and fifty-five foreign countries. Do it Best is the only US-based, full-service, member-owner distributor of lumber, hardware, and building materials products in the home improvement industry. Do it Best Corp. has held their semi-annual market at the Indiana Convention Center every spring and fall since 1975 but recently moved its spring conference to other locations around the country. The markets average around 8,500 attendees. Each market consists of education, networking, entertainment and a trade show floor with well over one thousand vendors.
- AAA Living
- McDaniels Marketing
- AAA Living
- Indiana State Festivals Association
- Ohio Magazine/Long Weekends
- Indiana Destination Development Corporation
- Travel Indiana Magazine
- Edible Indy