Advertising agency executive Ryan Cole has been named executive director of the Pikes Peak Country Attractions Association, a trade group for 26 tourist attractions in southern Colorado.
Cole, 32, replaces longtime executive director Michele Starling, who left the group Thursday and is moving to Florida, where her husband is taking a job with a medical startup company.
Cole grew up in the Springs, graduating from Cheyenne Mountain High School and Colorado State University. He started his career with a Wichita, Kan., television station and spent the last eight years with several tourist attractions and marketing agencies in the Wichita area that promoted tourism and attractions as well as other brands.
“Spending years away from the area allows you to appreciate the incredible hospitality and uniqueness of the Pikes Peak region,” Cole said in a press release. “I’m here to advocate for the Pikes Peak region and work with both the (Colorado Springs) Convention and Visitors Bureau and Colorado Tourism Board.”
Cole was most recently a partner, online market strategist and chief engagement officer of Colab Digital, an online marketing agency for small businesses, with offices in Wichita and Colorado Springs, that was formed by merging an agency he started, JuggleMedia, with two others.
Andy Neinas, the association’s president, said Cole was selected from more than 100 applicants by a five-person search committee because of his “skill set and knowledge of the area. Tourism is an incredibly dynamic and moving target. You have to anticipate and keep up with those changes.”