SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2017

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Page 25 of 67

January 2017 26 SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue J.D. Wood under- stands the battles of preconception when it comes to the city of College Station, TX, so he's a big advocate of seeing is believing. "College Station has the stigma that out- side of Johnny Football [Johnny Manziel] and Texas A&M bringing life to the community, people still think we ride horses and things like that," said Wood, tourism manager for the City of College Station. "When we get people here and show them the facilities we have and the services we provide for events, that's what's been able for us to differentiate ourselves from a lot of other mar- kets in Texas and the Southeast. The level of service we provide, whether it be for the President's Cup we hosted this past year or the ASA National Championship or the state Sev- en-on-Seven we host every year, when they come, they never leave." In fact, Wood is proud that when he says they don't leave, he means it. "We just signed five-year contracts with a lot of our groups because of the level of service we provide that they can't get anywhere else," Wood said. "We like long-term partnerships." Wood oversees 58 parks throughout the city, with nine focused on sports tourism. "My main focus because of my experience is athletic tourism at our facilities," Wood said. "So it is bringing in large-scale sporting events that utilize the city's facilities, like Veterans Park Athletic Complex or Brian Bachman Baseball Park." That keeps him plenty busy. "We're looking at 70 sporting events we hosted this past year," Wood said. "On top of 70 other events." Veterans Park Athletic Complex has nine fields and the city will add two more synthetic fields in July 2017. "Adding two more additional synthetic fields will bring us up to 13 fields total in one complex, with nine of those grass fields and four synthetic," Wood said. "We are also add- ing restrooms and walking paths in shaded areas between fields, and adding splash pad and playground areas, plus additional parking as well. "So having the 13 fields — all lit — and Wi-Fi ac- cessible through- out the venue, with 1,500 park- ing spots paved really opens the door for a lot of expanding events." Although Wood acknowledges a stigma attached to sharing the city with Texas A&M, he also knows the perks. "We have an operations staff of 25 to 30 that oversee all the parks' operational needs from mowing and edging to taking care of the fields," Wood said. "You know one of our selling points is that with A&M so close, a lot of our opera- tions crew have agronomy degrees. They live and breathe turf management and they really take care of the facilities — that helps set ourselves apart." n Catulatis! 2017 Readers' Choice Award Winners cont. MARYLAND cont. Prince George's County CVB Visit Baltimore Worcester County Tourism MASSACHUSETTS Destination Worcester Greater Merrimack CVB Johnny Appleseed Country MICHIGAN Traverse City Tourism West Michigan Sports Commission MINNESOTA Bloomington, MN CVB Minneapolis Northwest CVB MISSISSIPPI Mississippi Gulf Coast CVB Tupelo CVB MISSOURI Branson/Lakes Area CVB continued on page 28 J.D. Wood Tourism Manager City of College Station

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