Former Chamber of Commerce Leader Joe Blake, Retired DEN CEO Kim Day, and Advertising Icons Pocky Marranzino & Kathy Hagan, Co-CEO’S at Karsh Hagan to be Inducted at 22nd Annual Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner.
Denver’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry will honor some of its top leaders and innovators at the 22nd annual Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame dinner on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 at The Mission Ballroom.
The 2022 inductees to the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame are: former Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce leader and Chancellor Emeritus for the CSU System, Joe Blake; former CEO of Denver International Airport, Kim Day; and co-CEOs of Karsh Hagan advertising, Pocky Marranzino and Kathy Hagan.
The Tourism Hall of Fame serves as the highest award for Denver’s travel industry. Although recently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism industry in Denver traditionally supports more than 60,000 jobs in the metro area, making it one of the largest employers in the city.
The Tourism Hall of Fame dinner is a fundraising event for the VISIT DENVER Foundation, which has awarded more than $1.2 million in scholarships to 450 Colorado students pursuing higher education in the fields of tourism and hospitality, and $120,000 to Denver’s Road Home, a ten-year program to address and alleviate homelessness in Denver (2005-2015).
For ticket information, please contact Lauren Huffer at email@example.com, 303.515.1220.
Joe Blake – Chancellor Emeritus, CSU System; former CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
A Colorado native, Joe Blake has been a vital part of Colorado’s business and education community for more than five decades. He was the President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce for nearly a decade during a pivotal time in Denver’s history, helping to bring Major League Baseball to the city and helping to win the election to expand RTD’s transit system in Metro Denver, two events that greatly increased Denver’s appeal as a tourism destination. As Chancellor of the Colorado State University System, he oversaw its three distinct institutions: CSU, CSU-Pueblo and CSU-Global, and worked to help secure a more sustainable funding commitment for higher education in Colorado.
Joe's commitment to Colorado was most apparent in 2005 when he served as co-chair of the statewide Yes on Referendum C and D campaign. Voters passed Referendum C to allow the State of Colorado to retain revenues for higher education, transportation and health care over a five-year period.
He has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the CSU Board of Governors, Colorado Baseball Commission, Chair of the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Chair of the Colorado Transportation Commission, Colorado Concern and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Recognition for his past civic and community service includes induction into the 2017 Colorado Business Hall of Fame, the 2015 Denver Business Journal Legacy Award, the El Pomar Foundation Community Leadership Award, the Boy Scouts Distinguished Eagle Award and the Del Hock Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. He is a Life-time Trustee of the Denver Area Boy Scouts.
For nearly 20 years prior to his leadership of the Chamber, Blake was part of the senior management team that created the community of Highlands Ranch, home today to nearly 100,000 residents.
He was Legislative Assistant to U. S. Senator Gordon Allott (R-Colo.) in Washington. He was also a special agent of the FBI following graduation from law school.
Joe is a graduate of East High School, Dartmouth College and the University of Colorado, School of Law.
For his many contributions that have helped Denver grow as a tourism destination – from professional sports to a world class ground transportation system – Joe Blake is inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.
Kim Day, former CEO, Denver International Airport (DEN)
Former DEN CEO Kim Day retired in July 2021, after presiding for 13 years over large-scale expansion projects and rapid passenger growth. For more than half of the airport’s history, Day was integral in elevating its international profile. She has also recognized how DEN contributes to Colorado tourism and the economic success of the region and made sure these were factors in decision making.
Day was appointed DEN manager by then-Mayor John Hickenlooper in early 2008. After Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s first election in 2011, he retained Day, calling her “the dynamic leader we needed at a pivotal time.”
She took over during the Great Recession, but soon she was able to foster the growth and increasing revenue to turn DEN into the nation’s fifth-busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic, prior to the pandemic. During the pandemic, DEN was one of the world’s first major airports to rebound and is currently the 3rd busiest in the world in terms of passenger count.
In addition to its high rankings and innumerable accolades, DEN is admired throughout the aviation industry. “Kim Day’s impact on Denver International Airport and subsequently on our regional economy, is indelible,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Kim has been the dynamic leader we needed at a pivotal time of growth and opportunity for our city and state. She is the epitome of selfless leadership, grit and perseverance, an exceptional leader who sets the highest standards for herself and her team, and delivers impactful results with precision, and expert attention to detail. Kim’s dedication to our shared vision of creating a world-class airport is a crowning achievement of her professional career and a lasting legacy for my administration.”
DEN reports that annual passenger traffic has increased from 51 million when Day took over to 69 million in 2019, and the number of international destinations served by DIA increased from 170 to 214. Annual airport revenue grew from $842 million to $1.2 billion.
In a statement, Day attributed her decision to step down in part to surviving cancer in recent years. She had planned to retire in 2020, but stayed on to help guide DEN through the many challenges of the pandemic. She said she also felt confident about the stability of several expansion projects underway as part of a $3.5 billion capital program, including the gate expansion program and terminal rebuild.
“Kim Day’s impact on Denver International Airport, and subsequently on our regional economy, is indelible,” Hancock said. “Kim’s dedication to our shared vision of creating a world-class airport is a crowning achievement of her professional career and a lasting legacy for my administration.”
For her many contibutions to the success of Denver International Airport, Kim Day is inducted in the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.
Pasquale “Pocky” Marranzino & Kathy Hagan – CO-CEOs, Karsh Hagan
Both Hagan and Marranzino have provided strategic leadership, brand development and marketing experience in tourism marketing for Denver and Colorado for a combined eight-plus decades.
Marranzino has been involved in more Denver and Colorado tourism advertising than any other human being. For four decades, he has worked with a wide variety of clients, making him one of the most respected and well-known advertising professionals in the Rocky Mountain Region. Though he has worked on clients such as McDonald’s, INVESCO Funds, and Colorado National Bank, it is for tourism-related clients that he is perhaps best known, including the Colorado Lottery, Colorado Tourism Office, Aspen Snowmass, Best Western International, Deadwood Chamber of Commerce, Frontier Airlines, Loveland Ski Area, Regal Hotels, Steamboat Ski & Resort, and of course, VISIT DENVER. He currently has the distinction of working on both the award-winning Colorado Tourism Office and the VISIT DENVER accounts.
He was named “Professional of the Year” and honored with a Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievement by the Denver Advertising Federation. For more than 40 years, he has been an instrumental figure in creating Denver and Colorado’s tourism brand, and converting this brand into creative, visual and impactful advertising.
Encouraged to be an entrepreneur by her father, Karsh Hagan founder Tom Hagan, Kathy Hagan launched her first agency at the age of 26. Today, she is co-CEO of Karsh Hagan with Marranzino, running the agency and remaining actively involved in the advertising campaigns for VISIT DENVER, the Colorado Tourism Office and Denver International Airport (DEN).
She has supported numerous community initiatives and led the Denver Advertising Federation as Chairperson and was also recognized as “Professional of the Year”. Other recognition includes Denver Business Journal and Colorado Business Top Women Owned Company, Colorado Homes and Lifestyles Stylemaker and Karsh Hagan was recognized as Colorado Biz Top Company in 2019. In addition, she currently serves on the Advisory Board for the University of Denver, The Denver Art Museum and is a trustee of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. As with Marranzino, she has had a swath of clients – from corporations to tourism destinations - including Anschutz Medical Campus, Aspen Snowmass, Colorado Tourism Office, Denver International Airport (DEN), The Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Four Point Energy, University of Colorado, VISIT DENVER, and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
For their significant contributions to developing Denver’s and Colorado’s tourism brands, Pocky and Kathy are inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame.