He moved away with his family when he was a child in 1960, but for Steve Danglade, the new executive director of the Switzerland County Recreation, Tourism, and Convention Commission – his new job feels just like coming home.
He assumed his duties on January 3rd, having worked as a manager at Belterra.
“This has always been home,” Steve Danglade said this week, “We left when my father moved the family from Vevay in 1960, but we always came back for family and relatives and reunions and that sort of thing, so it’s always felt like home to me.”
He has a long connection with Vevay Newspapers, as his grandfather, Kirby Danglade, was the longtime editor and publisher; and his father, John, also published the paper before the family sold the business.
Steve Danglade said that the family first moved to Park Falls, Wisconsin after leaving Vevay; and from there they moved to Cincinnati; then to Columbus, Ohio, where he graduated from high school and attended The Ohio State University.
Graduating from Ohio State, Steve Danglade said that he went into the hotel business, moving around a lot. He worked in such places as Houston, Texas; Lake Tahoe, California; Los Angeles; Hawaii; and then to San Francisco.
“We lived in San Francisco for about 20 years,” he said. “First in hotels, but then I went to work for a graphic arts company in Northern California. From there I began a long career in graphic arts.”
In 2002, Steve Danglade said that “the timing was right” to move back to the Midwest, where his daughter could be closer to family; so they relocated back to Columbus, living there until about a year ago, when he had the chance to move back to Vevay and back into the family home.
“My great aunt, Hazel Danglade, lived in the family homestead which is the farmhouse by the river that’s just across the road from the high school,” Steve Danglade said. “That kind of became the focus of our family. My mother’s parents lived in Madison, so we’d always come and visit there, as well.”
So even though it’s a new job for him, there’s plenty of excitement for Steve Danglade, because he’s taking that new job in a place he knows very well.
“There’s a lot of things that really come together well about this because virtually everything about this job requires skills that I have picked up over the years,” he said. “I understand hospitality, and through hospitality, tourism. I understand marketing and public relations and advertising.”
For the past year, Steve Danglade has been running his own marketing and advertising firm here in Vevay, as technology provided him with the ability to run his business here for clients in other areas.
“That’s why I was able to move to Vevay,” he explained. “I had my own company and my clients realized that I didn’t have to be right where they were in order for me to fulfill their needs. When I realized that I could move to Vevay where I wanted to be, I just picked up and moved here.”
Steve Danglade said that he is very comfortable in knowing the task ahead and knowing how to promote tourism and to try and move tourism forward here in the county. Knowing well the community that he is now marketing is a big plus as he gets involved in his new job.
“I grew up around dining room tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the Fourth of July listening to stories that my grandparents and my parents and my cousins all told about the people and places here in Switzerland County,” Steve Danglade said. “I’ve always been in love with those stories. Now that I’m here, I’m looking for a way to let folks outside of the county understand the richness that we have here in people, in beauty, the culture that we have here; as well as all of the amenities.”
Even though its winter, Steve Danglade says that it’s a short winter, because there’s a lot of things to be done as the county heads into spring and summer. He says that he may have a week or so to catch his breath, but right now he’s very involved in budgeting and strategic planning and laying the groundwork for the prime tourism months ahead.
Always one to be involved in many activities, Steve Danglade says that he’s already been invited to be a part of the Swiss Wine Festival board and the Arts Council board; and is also excited about helping prepare for Vevay’s Bicentennial, which will occur in 2013.
“Really it’s about spending a lot of time with people who have been here and contributing to the county in so many ways over the years and learning from them,” he said. “Coming to understand what they know and finding ways that I can support them and contribute.”
With all that’s going on, Steve Danglade sees his new job with a simple focus.
“I just think Switzerland County is the best place on earth,” he says, “And I want everybody to know to come and see us,” he said.