Tom Kleinschnitz resigns as Moffat County Tourism Association director | CraigDailyPress.com

Tom Kleinschnitz resigns as Moffat County Tourism Association director

Lauren Blair

Tom Kleinschnitz as the director of the Moffat County Tourism Association.

As efforts ramp up to build the local tourism economy, Moffat County Tourism Association is on the hunt for a new director since current director, Tom Kleinschnitz, submitted his resignation the end of last month due to family and personal reasons.

Kleinschnitz took up the post in September 2016 and will remain director until Sept. 22.

"Withdrawing from the MCTA Director position affects me deeply and I must let each of you know that the decision to leave was not an easy one," Kleinschnitz wrote in his resignation letter to the board. "When I accepted this position, the intent was to hold it for the rest of my working life. Things have simply not worked out and I am truly sorry to be leaving."

During his past 11 months as director, Kleinschnitz focused on updating and creating several key tourism products that were lacking or insufficient by his estimation: the website, a tourism video and a new comprehensive brochure to replace outdated single-subject brochures.

He has also been an advocate for developing more tourism infrastructure, such as parking areas, signage, visitor accommodations and building out resources such as off-highway vehicle trails and river recreation opportunities.

Besides his energy and dedication to promoting tourism, the MCTA board and local officials also value him for his vast network of connections in the tourism industry and to organizations like Club 20 and the Colorado Tourism Office.

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"Because of his experience, his connections to the community and his knowledge of Moffat County, which, even though he hasn't lived here for a long time, his company has operated here 50 years or more," said board member Larry Hoover. "To find somebody to start all over and be able to walk in and deal with those people is going to be tough… It's a big loss for the community as far as I'm concerned."

Kleinschnitz and his wife own Adventure Bound River Expeditions based out of Grand Junction, which runs trips on both the Green and Yampa rivers in Dinosaur National Monument. His wife has a tenured position in the Mesa County Valley School District, and despite what he said was a "generous offer" from Moffat County School District to take over the Maybell School, the pieces didn't quite fall into place for them to permanently relocate to Moffat County.

The decision was based on many factors, Kleinschnitz said, though it didn't help that the pay and benefits package left something to be desired for a tourism professional.

"I'm hopeful that the tourism job here… has a better package for the person holding onto the position in the long run. And I hope that the county and the Local Marketing District can combine some supports to make it a real solid position for somebody," Kleinschnitz said.

Several years ago, the county cut the position back to part-time with no benefits. Despite the position now being full-time again, it's paid through Flint Personnel Services — not Moffat County — with no retirement or health insurance benefits and limited holiday time.

Nonetheless, Kleinschnitz is hopeful for Moffat County's tourism future and the latent potential in its numerous attractions, and he said he will continue to advocate for the region.

"I know Tom will be supportive of us, he'll be an asset whether he's here or not," Hoover said. "I just want to thank him for what he did for us. And he's welcome back anytime."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.