Finger Lakes Visitors Connection Staff

Valerie Knoblauch, President and CEOvalerie-knoblauch-staff-portrait

Valerie was hired as the first director of tourism for Ontario County in 1984. Her previous experience included tour guide responsibilities and public relations manager at Gold Seal Vineyards in Hammondsport.

Valerie has a degree in English Education from State University College at Oswego and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. Valerie also holds the CTP designation from the National Tour Association. She has taught on the adjunct faculty at local colleges and guest lectured at a variety of institutions including New York University. She is a current member of the New York State Tourism Industry Association Executive Committee and past board member of the Travel Industry Association of America. 

Valerie has authored several articles on travel and tourism issues, and has published the Ontario County Pictorial History Book. She is often a speaker at the national level on strategic planning, destination management, and marketing.

You may contact Valerie if you have further questions on these topics:

  • Government Relations
  • Board Relations and Management
  • I LOVE NY and New York State Office of Economic Development
  • Financial/Audit
  • House Management/Hospitality Events
  • NYS Matching Funds and Explore NY Grant Program
  • Product Development
  • Industry Awards and Recognition
  • Tourism Economic Development
  • Ontario County Tourism Statistics and Analysis

Email Valerie at:
or call her at (585) 394-3915 x101

2014-david-lee-golf-reservoir-portraitDavid Lee, Marketing Operations Manager

David Lee brings frontline and digital/IT experience to Finger Lakes Visitors Connection from his previous employer, The Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua. He is a graduate of the Finger Lakes Community College Hotel program and is obtaining an additional degree in Information Technology from FLCC. David’s focus at FLVC is making sure that the visitor experience and expectations are “exceeded” with quality delivery. He utilizes his technical skills to collect important data which helps in the development and growth of our tourism industry and a comprehensive understanding of our market opportunities. David is a father, and enjoys sharing his passion for the Finger Lakes with his family. He has varied interests including fishing, cooking, hiking and lots of computer stuff. But, if you are looking for him in the good weather – check out the local links. He’s an avid golfer.

You may contact David if you have further questions on these topics:

  • Website Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social and Digital Media (Photos, Videos)
  • Google Analytics
  • Tourism Market Research and Statistics
  • Product Inventory
  • Packaging & Events
  • Technical Support
  • Extranet (Partner Portal)

Email David at:
Or call him at (585) 394-3915 x107

carol-hicks-staff-portraitCarol Hicks, Executive Assistant and Office Manager

Carol joined the Visitors Connection team in December of 2013. Before entering the world of tourism, Carol worked at Crane’s Automotive Services, Inc. in Honeoye Falls in the role of Office Manager and Title Clerk. She assisted in automotive sales and service, and helped to manage the day to day operations of the business. Prior to her career at Crane’s, she was the manager of the Naples Hotel in Naples. At Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, she is responsible for clerical and administrative support to the Board of Directors and the President. As Office Manager, Carol is responsible for helping to maintain a safe, productive work environment at FLVC. When Carol's not helping market Ontario County to visitors, she's hiking the trails of the Finger Lakes with her dog, Shadow!

You may contact Carol if you have further questions on these topics:

  • Meeting Scheduling
  • Office Management
  • Finance
  • Board of Directors
  • Marketing Materials
  • Event Information and 3rd Party Seeding
  • Web Site Content and Listings

Email Carol at:
Or call her at (585) 394-3915 x100

AJ Shear

Jake Banas, Visitor Services and Marketing Assistant​

Jake officially joined the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection staff in June 2015 shortly after completing a degree in English and organizational communication at Keuka College. This is his first professional position, though he has completed public relations internships with both Albany Medical Center and Finger Lakes Health. Jake is a certified EMT and enjoys helping others in their time of need, especially when that need is one for information on the Finger Lakes!

You may contact Jake if you have further questions on these topics:

  • Visitor Services
  • Brochure Distribution
  • Industry and frontline training and inspiration
  • FLVC Microsite “tending”
  • Events
  • Canandaigua Wine Trail

Email Jake at:
Or call him at (585) 394-3915

Board of Directors

Members of our Board of Directors complete a self-evaluation annually. 

Michael Kauffman

Robert Bennett
1st Vice Chairperson
Homewood Suites

David Hutchings
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion

Frank Riccio

Mike Roeder 
Past Chairperson
Ravenwood Golf Club

Russ Kenyon
Kenyon and Kenyon

Alexa Gifford
Logical Business Solutions

Dan Marshall
Board of Supervisors
Town of South Bristol

Audrey Carrier
Events 4 U

John Brahm III
Arbor Hill Grapery

Donna Yudin
Ramada Geneva Lakefront

Daniel Fuller
Bristol Mtn/RoselandWaterpark

Steve McGuire
Holiday Inn Express

Meg Joseph
Friends of Ganondagan

Carl Carlson
Cheerful Valley Campground

Suzanne Farley

David Linger
Finger Lakes Gifts & Lounge