Tourism Chief Leaves Visitor’s Bureau for SJSU

Kirstin Carr, director of the Gilroy Visitor’s Bureau, has left
her job marketing Garlic City to the outside world to promote the
philanthropic and research goals of San Jose State University.
Gilroy – Kirstin Carr, director of the Gilroy Visitor’s Bureau, has left her job marketing Garlic City to the outside world to promote the philanthropic and research goals of San Jose State University.

Carr capped off her five years of employment in Gilroy Oct. 10, two days after the first annual arts and wine festival at Christmas Hill Park. The event, which exposed the efforts of local artists and wine makers to more than a 1,000 people, was among Carr’s more recent efforts to promote the city. She also organized the firstever local bluegrass festival in spring and helped return the fall season’s Renaissance Fair to Casa de Fruta.

“In five years, I felt I accomplished a lot of what I set out to do in terms of establishing community and corporate partnerships,” Carr said. “I feel I left the visitor’s bureau in good hands and going in a good direction.”

In her old position, Carr helped draw shoppers and tourists to Bonfante Gardens, the outlets and other local attractions through regional travel brochures and visitor’s bureaus.

“Her job was to get more people here to spend money,” said Connie Rogers, a part-time visitor’s bureau employee who has worked with the last three directors.

The former bureau director passed over an offer from Gavilan College to work as director of community services and contract education to take a job at San Jose State University Foundation. Her new position as special assistant to the chief operating officer at the university’s foundation involves spreading the word about the university’s public service and research partnerships, as well as helping to administer its grantmaking operations.

“Instead of marketing garlic, I’m marketing higher education,” explained Carr, who said her family’s long history of involvement in the school led her to take the job.

The board of directors for the visitor’s bureau met Thursday to discuss plans to hire Carr’s replacement.

Majid Bahriny, owner of Mama Mia’s restaurant and president of the board, expected the process to last three months.

In the meantime, the bureau’s office coordinator Pam Gimenez will serve as interim director.

He said the board hopes to find a resident familiar with the area’s businesses, but would expand the search through the California Visitor’s Bureau if necessary.

“We need someone to market Bonfante Gardens, the new stores on Pacheco Pass,” Bahriny said.

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