2018 Top Hat Finalist Spotlight – Bill Lee

2018 Tourism Professional of the Year Finalist

Bill Lee

Gallup McKinley County Chamber of Commerce

What was your first job in the hospitality/tourism industry?
I was named CEO for Adventure Gallup & Beyond… an organization that promoted outdoor tourism in McKinley County. Then I became the CEO of the Gallup/McKinley County Chamber of Commerce, who is tasked with helping to promote tourism in our area.

Who has helped/mentored you throughout your career?
Many have help me in this journey. Tania Armenta, Monique Jacobson, Chris Stagg, Richard Holcomb, Ed Pulsifer…just to name a few.

What has been the highlight of your career?
There have been many great moments…being a big part of the New Mexico True campaign when it was launched, flying the New Mexico True Balloon. Helping to build a tourism brand for Gallup that has begun to generate larger numbers of visitors to our community and area by being true to what and who we are in New Mexico.

Red or Green?
YES!!! Because I love them both and can never decide!

What is one suggestion or piece of advice you would share with young people entering the hospitality/tourism business?
Do it with all of your heart and soul. Never overlook what treasures you have in your own backyard. Share every wonderful story of our state and who we are with passion. If you believe, the guest will believe too!

What is your favorite New Mexico travel experience?
I love New Mexico and everywhere I have been in this state there has been something special…but my favorite travel experience is when I get to see these many beautiful places from the basket of my hot air balloon. My favorite place to fly is through the beautiful Red Rock canyons of Gallup.

What is your favorite quote or piece of inspiration?
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

What does being a finalist for the Top HAT Awards mean to you?
I am humbled. The people in this industry are more than friends, they are family. People who care for their communities, regions, and often volunteer to promote our great state. To be recognized by the industry for something I truly love brings me joy and, inspires me to do more to live up to this incredible honor.

Stay tuned for more Finalist Spotlights as we get closer to the 2018 New Mexico True Top HAT Awards Gala on November 8th!