Advocates and transportation officials are continually frustrated by the lack of funding and support for the places we know are great to explore by bicycle. Bike trails, quiet and scenic roads and gravel routes are the kind of places we know anyone would love to cycle, but tourism officials generally lack the knowledge of these places, how to support them and overlook them in their tourism offerings. In addition, there are some amazing bike rides and tours available across Texas that could really use a boost. Pairing these needs with tourism’s role in providing destination development and marketing, it seems like an incredible missed opportunity. Adventure Cycling will cultivate a round table discussion to determine the best way attendees can work with tourism officials and/or economic development councils; this may include featuring/promoting existing rides, routes and trails; assist communities in developing bike tourism related amenities; or funding bicycle projects that are proven to drive economic development.
About the Presentors:
Virginia “Ginny” Sullivan is the Director of Travel Initiatives at Adventure Cycling Association, North America’s only organization dedicated to bicycle tourism and travel. Programs under Ginny’s direction include: working with state and local partners to officially designate interstate bicycle routes into the U.S. Bicycle Route System, currently at almost 12,000-miles; co-leading the Amtrak Bicycle Task Force, with a goal of seeing carry- on bicycle service available on all Amtrak lines; education and outreach to state and national public land managers on bicycle tourism amenities and accommodations; and advocacy efforts that protect and improve Adventure Cycling’s 46,846-miles of mapped and documented bicycle routes across North America. Ginny’s work is partner focused and her efforts are driven by the Adventure Cycling mission to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle.
Drew Pickle is the Director of Parks for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) based in Austin, Texas. The LCRA has 44 parks and over 11,000 acres of land within its park system. Drew started with the LCRA in 2004 as a Recreation Supervisor and over the past 13 years has served as the Parks Business Development Manager, Park Superintendent, and Natural Science Program Supervisor. Prior to the LCRA, Drew worked for Texas Cooperative Extension Service as the state Recreation Associate promoting outdoor living skills and adventure based recreation within the 4H and Youth Development program. He has over 25 years of experience in park operations, natural science program development, adventure based recreation, and management. Drew holds a B.A. from Western State University of Colorado in Recreation and a M.Ed. in Sports and Recreation Management from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He resides on a small piece of Texas Hill Country in Blanco County with his wife and son along with eight cows and numerous chickens. Drew enjoys doing anything in the out-of-doors alongside his family.
Mariano “Bean” Alaya is a graduate of Brownsville’s St. Joseph’s Academy, Brownsville, Texas and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas-Pan American Brownsville. He has also earned the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus Texas Destination Marketing certification and received his Certified Public Manager designation from the University of Texas-Brownsville.
He is the former Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Brownsville. He has served as Human Resources Director for Valley Regional Medical Center-Brownsville and the Rio Grande State Center in Harlingen. While at Cameron County Mr. Ayala served as Personnel/Safety Risk Director. He was also the Administrative Director of Business Development for Brownsville Doctors Hospital. He was the Head Coach for the St. Joseph Boys Varsity Basketball team as well as a Head Coach of the Matamoros, Correcaminos in the Professional Basketball League of Mexico.
He has volunteered for the following entities: Episcopal Day School, St. Mary’s School, First Baptist School, Teens Helping Kids, “Hooked 4 Life,” H.O.P.E. for Kids Living with Diabetes, Infant & Nutrition Agency, Charro Days, Mr. Amigo Association, Sombrero Fest, Camille Playhouse, Tip of Texas Outreach, Better Block Brownsville, Cyclobia Brownsville, Community inHealth, Brownsville Fine Arts Museum, Holiday Village, Monica’s House, Friendship of Women, Brownsville Biggest Loser, Moody Clinic, Brownsville Community Health Clinic, Adult Literacy Center, Leadership Brownsville, Brownsville Shines, Brownsville First, Brownsville Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Brownsville Boys & Girls Club, Los Fresnos Boys & Girls Club, B.I.S.D. Strategic Planning Committee, University of Texas Brownsville/Texas Southmost College Athletic Task, UTB Alliance for Science and Education/ENLACE Advisory Board, Brownsville Library, City of Brownsville and Cameron/Willacy Counties- C.A.S.A. Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. He and his wife Patti were the United Way of Southern Cameron County Workforce Campaign Co-Chairs 2013-2014.
He served on the Brownsville Economic Development Council Board of Directors and just completed his second term on the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus. He has also served on the United Way of Southern Cameron County and Leadership Brownsville boards.
“Boy of the Year” for the Brownsville Boys Club in 1970. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America presented him with the 1989 Southwest Region Executive Director “Rookie of the Year” Award. Boys and Girls Club of Brownsville honored him as “Basketball Coach of the Year” twice. In, 1992 he was presented the Leadership Brownsville-Distinguished Alumnus Award. In 2012 the Texas Society of Executives Association recognized him with their first ever “Making a Difference Community Service” Award and in June 2015 Bean was inducted as an Honorary Member into the Texas Police Athletic Federation Hall of Fame.
He and his wife Patti have been married 41 years. They have two sons; Michael and Patrick.
In 2007 our guest was appointed and still serves as President and CEO of the Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau.