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September 03, 2020


Renee Areng

You are so generous, Bill. Such supportive words. Thank you for being the amazing man you are!

Brad Dean

Well said Bill. Deb is a passionate, creative promoter who embodies the best attributes of DMO leaders. Always has a kind word and good idea to offer. And you’d struggle to find someone who is more welcome and friendly - our world needs more Deb Archers!

Deb Archer

Bill, Your words always either make me smile or cry. This post did both. I was so fortunate to follow you and what you established for Madison. It's been a wild ride and you know better than most what it's like running a DMO in an "engaged" city! Thank you for paving the way. I wouldn't have thought I would be on this one for 25+ years. But, I'm not going to fade into the sunset. Someone needs to find something for me to do!!!

Bill Geist

Deb..."Fade" is never a word I would ever attribute to you. It's just not who you are. And, I know you'll continue to be a force and voice in our sector and our community (just not in the winter, LOL). Thanks again for all you've done for us all.

Doug Small

Congratulations Deb!! Enjoy every bit of "your" time; well deserved. Cheers!!

Rob Zache

Well played Bill…and Deb! Fate had it that I was the chair at that rancorous time that Bill refers to. Monona Terrace was a real political and funding struggle that turned into a part time job for me and a full time job for Bill, but without his dedication (and time) to get the job done it may not have ever happened. While there are many critical people who made MT happen, the likes of Nelson, Brennan and Geist rise to the top.

After MT was finally approved, it was bittersweet when Bill decided to leave the CVB and when he did I was also (by default) chair of the personnel committee that eventually hired Deb. I’ve said many time that it was the single best decision we at the Bureau ever made with the most positive consequences to so many for our organization and the community at large.

Behind the scenes, Deb methodically took a sleepy little membership organization with a micro-budget (and suddenly MT) that relied on events for funding (Taste of Madison, etc.), and while being suddenly thrust into the responsibilities of marketing MT, methodically turned the CVB into a national caliber and highly respected sales and marketing organization benefiting everyone in the market on par with anyone anywhere, and did it over the long run against great odds with class and dignity.

On behalf of the tourism, travel, hotel, restaurant and retail industries (which spider-web out benefiting many other related sectors and people) Deb was herself a rare economic engine making life better for all of us on many so levels. My hat will always be off to her. She WILL be missed.

PS: Hey Bill, MT aside, I still think our best accomplishment was to get the state law changed from only allowing beer to be served at the Taste in beer tents, to allow people to freely walk around the square with a beer in their hands…which I now feel obligated to do every year! Congrats on all your continued successes too!

Bill Geist

Thank you, Rob, for those exceptionally kind words. "Rancorous" describes those early days well...but our tribe of community leaders put aside difference and party affiliations to do what would transform Madison into the sensational community it is today. Sad that we may never see that kind of community unity again.

We all benefited greatly from Deb's leadership over the past 25 years. I trust the present Board will not settle in their search for her successor...but, they have a monumental task before them.

And, LOL...the Beer Garden bill was the cherry on top. With no Taste of Madison this year, I'll toast you this evening, my friend! Thanks again.

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