The Oregon Travel Information Council is responsible for governing the agency, which operates under the assumed business name of Oregon Travel Experience. The Council is composed of eight volunteers appointed by the Governor and one member of the Oregon Transportation Commission. At least one appointee must reside in each of Oregon’s five congressional districts. The Council meets quarterly to fulfill its mission of creating a great visitor experience by providing directions to destinations, connecting travelers with Oregon’s resources, and ensuring safe and convenient travel.
Ed Washington comes to the Council with an expertise in community diversity. Washington obtained his bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts and is employed with Portland State University (PSU). He looks forward to helping Oregon's citizens and travelers find essential services on the highway, and making their motoring experience a memorable one. In his "leisure" time, Washington likes to read, golf, and garden. However, his volunteer work with Life Works Northwest keeps him fairly well occupied.
A native Oregonian, Bob Garcia has served Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians in a variety of capacities since joining the Tribal Council in 2001, including eight years as the Council’s chairman. Bob’s recent executive experience includes a decade as Assistant General Manager of three Rivers Casino Resort, where he oversaw nearly 600 employees and led all aspects of planning and operations. Previously, he served as Economic Development Director for the Tribes, Treasurer of the Oregon Tribal Gaming Alliance, and as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Indian Gaming Association. He has served on the board of numerous charities including as President of the Florence Rotary Club and Rotary Foundation. Bob is in his second term as a Commissioner of the International Port of Coos Bay. Bob notes: “Oregon Heritage Markers are a particular interest of mine as I have seen the program work to update and revise dated and historically inaccurate markers to reflect a broader and culturally more diverse story of the ten thousand plus years of habitation in our state.” Bob lives with his wife, Wendy, and their family in North Bend.
Gwenn Baldwin of Baldwin Consulting LLC in Portland, Oregon, was elected chair of the OTIC in July 2012. Baldwin has degrees in government relations and legal services, and psychology. Baldwin’s consulting business represents Oregon businesses, public agency and nonprofit clients. She directed communications strategy for former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts. Baldwin became interested in OTE and its council while on her frequent road trips across the state. She is an avid hiker that depends on OTE signs to point her in the right direction for new discoveries and looks forward to engaging with OTE’s new leadership.
Marsh brings 30 years of experience in Oregon government policy analysis and leadership including serving as administrator of the DAS Budget and Management Division, administrator of the DAS Facilities Division, and a decade as Deputy Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. Marsh previously served in the US Marines Corps active duty and reserves for 20 years, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
A native Oregonian, Marsh cited his love for our state’s history as a factor in seeking this position with the Council. Marsh notes that as a child he asked his parents to stop at every historical marker they passed, writing: “I am connected at my core to Oregon.”
"I have a life-long affinity for our state,” said Marsh, "and welcome the opportunity to work with OTE's programs, applying my experience in finance and government and contributing as much as possible to the Council's mission."
Marsh earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science at the University of Oregon and his MBA from the Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Marsh served as an executive/adjunct professor for the Atkinson school, where he continues to teach and serves on the Board of the Institute for Modern Government. Marsh also chaired the board for Co-Serve International, a non-profit leadership-training organization.
Ryan Snyder is president of Martin Hospitality, which operates resorts in Cannon Beach. He began his career in California working in the hospitality industry in Palm Desert and Palm Springs. He joined Martin Hospitality in 1995 as marketing director and rose to executive vice president in 2001 and president in 2004. The Martin Hospitality family of properties includes the Stephanie Inn and Dining Room, Surfsand Resort, Wayfarer Restaurant and Lumberyard Rotisserie & Grill in Cannon Beach.
Ryan has been selected by the Portland Business Journal for the 40 Under 40 profile. He serves as a member of the Oregon Tourism commission (DBA Travel Oregon) and is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization, serves on the board of the Make–A-Wish Foundation of Oregon and on the board of directors for the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and as an advisory board Member to U.S. Bank in the Columbia Pacific Region. Ryan lives with is wife, Stephanie Martin, and their two children in Cannon Beach.
Kenji Sugahara is the Executive Director of Oregon Bicycle Racing Association and serves as a member of the Oregon Tourism Commission. An avid cyclist, he is a member of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership and ODOT’s Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Licensed as commercial drone operator, Kenji also works as a photographer and consultant, capturing the scenic beauty of Oregon to promote tourism and Oregon businesses. His background in state and local government, the private sector and the tourism industry provides a unique perspective on how the TIC can promote economic development as travelers are guided by our signs, kiosks and rest areas to services and activities throughout the state. He says: "OTE plays an important role in our transportation and tourism sectors. Whether it be welcoming travelers to our rest areas, guiding people to our attractions and heritage assets, or simply providing a clean place to take a break, Oregonians should be proud of the work by done by our OTE staff." Kenji is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Oregon School of Law. He and wife Tessa and their family live in West Salem.
Kathy Watson represents the Second Congressional District. Watson is an accomplished communications and public relations professional and served for several years as press secretary for Oregon’s Senate Majority Office. Her prior employment with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries as well as the Oregon Economic Development Department provided her with a broad view on fostering jobs and economic prosperity within communities across the state. In addition to her duties on the OTIC, Watson is currently a board member of the Gorge Grown Food Network. She is a professional chef and was prior owner of Nora’s Table, a Hood River restaurant.
“In a community that is very dependent on tourism, I get to talk to a lot of people who are visiting Oregon, many for the first time,” said Watson. “I know how important it is to be good guides and hosts to our visitors, and I think our rest areas can play a critical role in introducing people to the Oregon story.”