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  • Downtown
    Enjoy a huge range of entertainment, dining, shopping and sightseeing opportunities, all within an easy, eye-catching 10-minute walk.
    West Side
    From tigers and coffee to meat markets and Mexican restaurants, the West Side is a fascinating mix of old-school and up-and-coming.
    Grit, growth and creativity characterize this downtown neighborhood, which boasts unique galleries, clever dining spots and many pleasant…
    Heritage Hill
    One of the nation’s top old-house neighborhoods – with 1,300 buildings dating back to 1844 – is just a five-minute walk from downtown.
    Medical Mile
    This world-class health-sciences corridor is spurring new retail and residential developments well beyond its namesake mile.
    North Quarter
    The city’s largest park, tiniest burger joint, oldest sweet shop and newest best-bar winner are just a few of the pleasures that await visitors.…
    Diversity is the hallmark of Southtown, with numerous ethnic groups contributing to a vibrant mix of restaurants, shops and events.
    An eclectic mix of specialty shops, galleries, restaurants and entertainment venues reflect this area’s friendly, funky, fabulous character.

    Lisa Verhil

    Lisa Verhil, CTA

    Visitor Services Manager

    AKA: Welcome Wizard
    (616) 258-7388 ext. 3578

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    Manages and builds support for visitor services functions of Experience Grand Rapids. Specific programs include the airport visitor information area and the county-wide Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) program. These efforts directly impact the expansion of a visitor-centric destination, which helps to attract and expand tourism and convention bookings.


    MBA in Educational Administration and Leadership from MSU
    BS in Secondary Education from CMU
     Major: Recreation and Parks Administration/Community Ed.
     Minor: Interpersonal and Public Communication
    Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA)
    Secondary Teaching Certificate

    Volunteer Associations:

    Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, Primary Contact for new Members and participate in Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies.
    Kids Food Basket

    Professional Associations:

    Kent County Hospitality Association
    Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Ambassador

    How long have you worked in the Tourism Industry?

    For over 10 years, 4 at Experience Grand Rapids.

    How did you become a part of the Tourism Industry?

    When I started dating my husband and worked with him in the restaurant.  I got reacquainted with my "Greek hospitality gene," and the restaurant became too small. I reached out to Doug with an idea to train front line service staff, and over a cup of coffee the idea of the CTA Program was started in 2009. Thanks to the hoteliers who raised the room tax in 2012, we started the CTA program in 2013.

    Favorite Vacation Spot?

    I really don't have a favorite, but I love to travel and learn about other cities.

    One piece of advice or tip you would give to a first time visitor to Grand Rapids?

    Thank you for coming to Grand Rapids, tell others what a great place we have here and come back soon!

    There is something for everyone here with many attractions and events that transcend age. Just let us know what is of interest to you, and we can direct you there.