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Experience Kissimmee names first chief operating officer

Experience Kissimmee, the official tourism authority for Osceola County, announced its Chief Operating Officer. Misty Johantgen, a mainstay in Central Florida tourism for more than two decades, has been selected to fill the post.

DT Minich, Experience Kissimmee President & CEO, stated Johantgen will begin her new duties on June 25 of managing the day-to-day operations of his 40-person staff and assisting in completing the organization’s first-year transition from a public organization to a public/private partnership.

“We are running at full-throttle,” Minich remarked. “Having Misty on board – with her years of professional experience and industry knowledge – to oversee the internal operations at Experience Kissimmee, allows me and other team members to dedicate our attention to the very aggressive marketing and sales initiatives we have put forth.”

With the transition to a privately run organization, Minich is counting on Johantgen to mold and shape Experience Kissimmee’s daily operational policies and procedures. As the first-ever COO for Experience Kissimmee, Minich said Johantgen will specifically oversee Experience Kissimmee’s administrative, human resources and accounting functions, much of which previously relied heavily on support from Osceola County government. Experience Kissimmee’s operating budget is approximately $17 million.

“Misty brings a wealth of experience and tourism insight, which will greatly enhance our efforts,” declared Minich. “In addition to the daily operations, I’ll rely on her to play a principal role in partner relations as well as in developing our strategic plan and gaining Destination Marketing Association International accreditation. These are key imperatives for us in our evolution as a privately run organization.”

“I feel honored that DT has asked me to join him in establishing a solid foundation upon, which Experience Kissimmee can continue the advancements it has made in its first year as a public/private partnership,” Johantgen said. “This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am anxious to contribute to the infectious enthusiasm DT and the team have for marketing, selling and promoting Kissimmee. I look forward to doing my part to help the team achieve new, higher levels of success.”

An over 20- year hospitality industry veteran, Johantgen was most recently the senior vice president of member relations & support services for Visit Orlando. In this role, she oversaw the sales, service and retention efforts for Visit Orlando’s more than 1,100 members; advertising sales for over 50 publications and programs; and management of the organization’s tradeshows and events. In addition, she oversaw the organization’s print and digital services as well as Web and applications efforts.

Johantgen is active in travel industry associations including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) from which she earned her Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation in 2012.
Additionally, Johantgen currently serves on the Board of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (FADMO) and is the Chair of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management Events Advisory Board. She has previously served on the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Board of Christian Education for Trinity Lutheran Downtown and United Arts of Central Florida’s Marketing Committee. She has volunteered for Junior Achievement of Central Florida as well as the American Heart Association.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of South Florida.

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