Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, Canandaigua

Finger Lakes Visitors Connection Staff


Staff Members

Valerie Knoblauch

Valerie Knoblauch President & CEO

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.

Tracey Burkey

Tracey Burkey, CDME Director of Sales

Having lived and worked in the Finger Lakes for most of her life, Tracey is bringing her talents west to Ontario County! Joining the office as the director of sales, Tracey will oversee all aspects of meeting and conference sales and services for Ontario County tourism, bringing with her vast experience in the meetings market. Before arriving in Ontario County, Tracey began as the convention sales manager and then vice president of sales and services for Visit Syracuse. More recently, she was the manager of global accounts for HelmsBriscoe, a global leader in meetings procurement. Born and raised in Canastota, Tracey studied at Niagara University and spent time in Japan as an exchange student. Tracey currently lives in Syracuse with her husband, Fred, and together have a combined family of five children and two beautiful grandchildren

Julie Maslyn

Julie Maslyn Executive Assistant to the President

As a mother of four kids, and our in-house agriculture expert, Julie brings a wealth of knowledge and organization to the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection team as the Executive Assistant. Prior to joining the team at FLVC, Julie spent many years working at her family farm in Farmington, where she lives with her husband, Pete, and their four children. Julie is also known around Ontario County as the organizer of the wildly successful Fun on the Farm event, occurring every other year, where locals and visitors alike can spend the day on a different farm around Ontario County learning about the agriculture industry in a fun setting. She also works with the annual Ontario County Fair. Julie received her B.S in Animal Sciences from Cornell University.

Sarah About Image

Sarah O'Connell Visitor Experience Curator



Sarah joined Finger Lakes Visitors Connection in June 2021. She comes to us from Keuka College on scenic Keuka Lake. Although she has left behind one Finger Lake, she is a lifelong native of the Finger Lakes region, having grown up in Victor, NY. Her background and time in Ontario County will allow her to provide some local insight. Along with this insight, she provides knowledge of accounting, finance, and human resources that she has gathered through her studies that will undoubtedly allow her to provide a different perspective on the industry. Above all, Sarah brings an enthusiasm for learning more about the tourism industry and the Finger Lakes region.

Victor Farmers Market Blueberries

Mitch Steedman Marketing Media Specialist

Mitch has three years of contributions to Finger Lakes Visitors Connection. Starting out as an intern from Canandaigua Academy, Mitch joined with a special interest and skills in video production. Mitch is a graduate of Finger Lakes Community College and currently enrolled at John Fisher College, pursuing a career in video. Mitch provides ever-growing expertise in videography, photography, microsite development, and marketing.

Board of Directors

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

Robert Bennett
Homewood Suites                      

David Hutchings
1st Vice Chairperson
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion

Lenore Friend
Finger Lakes Community College

Steven Laros
Fairfield Inn & Suites

Michael Kauffman
Immediate Past Chairperson

Dan Marshall
Board of Supervisors
Town of South Bristol

Steve Fuller
Bristol Mountain

Sheryl Mordini
1795 Acorn Inn

Carl Carlson
Cheerful Valley Campground

Frank Riccio
Cobblestone Creek 
Country Club

Meg Joseph
Friends of Ganondagan

Russ Kenyon
Kenyon and Kenyon

Mark Gilbride
Lazy Acre Alpacas

Charles Parkhurst
Lyons National Bank

Krista Johns
Ramada Geneva Lakefront

Mike Roeder 
Ravenwood Golf Club

Lori Proper
The Lake House on Canandaigua