CARSON CITY, Nev. — Director Dann Lewis of the Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT), who guided an innovative year-long advertising campaign that delivered record-breaking results, has resigned effective Dec. 17, Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki announced today.

Lewis was appointed to the agency in early 2009 and helped steer its operations through a period of adjusting to severe state budget constraints brought on by the national economic recession, during which NCOT’s operating budget was reduced by 41 percent. Despite a decreased advertising budget, NCOT launched ad campaigns on TV, online and in print that proved to be highly successful.

"NCOT has certainly benefitted from the knowledge and experience that Mr. Lewis has brought to the agency, demonstrated by the extraordinary success of our advertising activities promoting Nevada's tourism attractions nationally and globally," Krolicki, NCOT chair, said.

Under Lewis' direction, the "Let Nevada Capture Your Heart" ad campaign for winter 2009 and summer 2010 was aimed specifically at lucrative markets with active adults likely to travel to Nevada. The $3.6 million campaign attracted visitors whose spending generated $110 million in tax revenue, a record $31 return for every $1 invested in the campaign, outside research by the company TNS Global showed. 

"I have greatly appreciated and enjoyed working with NCOT's loyal, dedicated staff and interacting with our fine tourism industry partners," Lewis said. "Having accomplished some outstanding achievements together with this great team, I feel the time is right for my departure and a move to other endeavors."

Larry Friedman, NCOT's deputy director of Sales and Industry Partners, will become the interim director. Friedman currently oversees the rural programs and domestic and international sales, which include the work of NCOT's international offices in Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and continental Europe. During his more than 20 years with NCOT, Friedman has created the Rural Roundup conference, chaired the development of Nevada’s Scenic Byways Program and produced the guidelines for the Projects Relating to Tourism Rural Infrastructure Grant Program. He currently serves on the Leadership Committee for the National Tour Association and the United States Travel Association’s Planning Committee for its annual International Pow Wow, one of the tourism industry’s largest annual gatherings.