Contact

If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help:

Nebraska Tourism Commission

301 Centennial Mall South

PO Box 98907

Lincoln, NE 68509-8907

Email: tourism@VisitNebraska.org

Phone: (402) 471-3796

For local convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), or chambers of commerce, and visitor centers please go here.

Nebraska Tourism Staff:

Kathy McKillip, Executive Director

(402) 471-1558 or kathy.mckillip@nebraska.gov

Director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission, Kathy McKillip oversees the Commission’s activities including the marketing of Nebraska attractions and events, developing and managing a budget of state and federal revenue sources, monitoring national trends in travel and tourism, preparing legislation related to tourism, providing a cohesive approach to the Commission’s vision and participating in strategic policy planning.

McKillip, a fifth-generation Nebraskan, has traveled the country and the state extensively working with rural communities and site attractions and cultivating regional growth and metro-area development.

McKillip has spent more than 17 years in the field of community capacity building and has an extensive background in planning, economic development, community and rural development, public participation, population trends, marketing initiatives and community connections as they relate to demographic and cultural shifts.

McKillip attended Nebraska City High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a master’s in science organizational management with an economic emphasis from Peru State College. She is an active volunteer within the community of Lincoln and serves as a board member on the Lincoln City Library Board of Trustees.

Bryce Arens, Administrative Assistant

(402) 471-3796 or bryce.arens@nebraska.gov

Bryce assists the director with organization of schedules, operational needs, inquiries from visitors via telephone and follows legislative bills related to tourism. He also works with the Tourism Think Tank, or 3T Program, a group of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students in the Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management Program, to establish ideas to incorporate the college demographic into commission operations.

Angela Backer, Marketing Manager

(402) 471-7755 or angela.white@nebraska.gov

Angela is responsible for managing the commission's branding, marketing and public relations efforts. She is the point person for the outside agencies and assists in developing the commission's market research, branding and strategic marketing plans. She also assists journalists, bloggers and travel writers with story ideas, information about tourist destinations and events, and photography to use in their stories. Angela has over 15 years of non-profit and corporate marketing experience. Most of those years were spent as the marketing and member education coordinator for the University of Nebraska Federal Credit Union and as a marketing manager for National Research Corporation. Angela is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations. As a native Nebraskan, Angela has called Fremont, West Point, Aurora, Falls City, Nebraska City and Lincoln home. She enjoys travel and dabbles in photography.

Amanda Barker, Tourism Development Consultant

(402) 471-3789 or amanda.barker@nebraska.gov

As the Passport Program Coordinator, Amanda manages the Nebraska Passport program from start to finish—including selecting sites, supporting travelers on their passport adventures, developing communication plans for the program, and more. Amanda's other duties include researching and recruiting potential national events to Nebraska, as well as creating a Tourism Cares program for our state.

Growing up on a farm outside of Nebraska City, Amanda learned the value of rural communities at a young age. She attended Nebraska City High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in Political Science. Her professional focus is on rural community development and program management. She lives in Lincoln with her husband, Scott, and is a member of the Nebraskans for Civic Reform board of directors and the Clinic with a Heart development committee.

Micheal Collins, Tourism Development Consultant

(402) 471-3795 or micheal.collins@nebraska.gov

Micheal oversees the Nebraska Travel Counselor program and supervises 30–40 seasonal summer staff in various rest areas along Interstate 80. He plans and oversees the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference, which is a great educational and networking opportunity for Nebraska’s tourism industry partners. His goal with each conference is to give delegates excellent speakers and sessions that will help them be successful in their jobs. He is also the group travel manager for the state and is looking forward to expanding the group tour market in Nebraska and drawing more bus tours to the state.

Micheal received his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in urban studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1995. In 1997, he received his master’s degree in planning from the School of Planning at the University of Tennessee. His first job in Nebraska was with the Panhandle Area Development District in Scottsbluff, where one of his primary duties was serving as coordinator of the Nebraska Panhandle Tourism Coalition (now Western Nebraska Tourism Coalition).

When he moved to Scottsbluff in 1997, Micheal planned on living in Nebraska for no more than two years. He found that he really liked living in the state, however, so he applied for a position with the Nebraska Tourism Commission in 2000. He remained in Scottsbluff until relocating to Lincoln in 2002, where he now owns his own home and lives with his cats, Seamus and Stella, and dogs, Sasha and Charlie.

Alexander Duryea, Tourism Development Consultant

(402) 471-3797 or alexander.duryea@nebraska.gov

As the Commission's Eco-Tourism Specialist, Alex works with Nebraska businesses providing services for outdoor event coordination, promotional assistance to Nebraska outfitter businesses, and guided eco-tours for groups and writers wanting to experience the great outdoors of Nebraska. Anything outdoor recreation and eco-tourism related is his specialty, please contact Alex if your organization needs assistance. Alex grew up in Omaha, NE and has had a passion for outdoor recreation his whole life. As an avid cyclist he enjoys all different flavors of cycling. Alex graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and currently resides in Lincoln.

Heather Hogue, Operational Director/Grant Administrator

(402) 471-3774 or heather.hogue@nebraska.gov

Heather oversees the Commission’s local, state and federal grant opportunities including the Tourism Marketing Grant and Community Impact Grant programs, funding assistance programs that encourage Nebraska communities to work together to promote their destinations and events. As Operational Director, Heather manages administrative and program operations for the Commission in relation to state government policies, implements procedures regarding the Commission web site and database, supervises the internship program, manages the Commission’s fulfillment and call center contracted service providers, performs program support for the agency director, and investigates agency programs to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Heather grew up on a family farm outside of Minden, Nebraska and joined the hospitality industry in the 1980s as a teenager learning the ropes at Harold Warp Pioneer Village. She is a graduate of the Lincoln School of Commerce Travel and Tourism Program and accepted a position with the Commission in 2000. Prior to joining the Commission, Heather’s career path included working as a customer service representative at Walt Disney World, booking travel packages as an accredited IATA travel agent, and serving as a travel agency Quality Control Operator. After years of traveling and experiencing various landscapes, Heather chose to return home to Nebraska. She lives in Lincoln with her husband, Mike and their daughter, Maggie.

Lisa Karnatz, Tourism Development Consultant

(402) 471-3767 or lisa.karnatz@nebraska.gov

As the Commission's Small Business Development Consultant, Lisa works closely with entrepreneurs and small tourism businesses to ensure that continued viability and successful stability exists among tourism businesses across the state. Whether one-on-one, in a workshop or webinar, or in a conference setting, Lisa assists new and existing entrepreneurs and startups with business and financial direction, resources, technology, mentoring and innovation. She provides networking facilitation between businesses, resources and government to provide tourism advancement while promoting innovation within the Nebraska tourism industry. Lisa has an associate's degree from Southeast Community College and a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has also earned a Heartland Economic Development degree and is certified as an Accredited Business Planning Advisor. Lisa grew up in Davenport, Nebraska and currently lives in Lincoln where she enjoys working in her yard and spending time with friends.

Karen Kollars, Tourism Development Consultant

(308) 249-3220 or karen.kollars@nebraska.gov

Karen works as the Commission's Agri-Tourism Consultant, assisting tourism entities and helps encourage more rural residents to reach out to travelers wanting to take vacations that involve immersing themselves in ranching or farming experiences. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management. She formerly worked for the Cheyenne County Chamber of Commerce as the executive director and handled tourism and main street responsibilities. Karen has more than 15 years of experience working in the tourism industry.

Karen is actively involved in local, state and national groups. She serves on the advisory councils for the UNL Department of Agricultural Leadership Education & Communication, MarketPlace Nebraska, and the Nebraska Outfitters and Guides Association. She is actively involved with the North American Direct Farmers Market Association, a networking association for farm direct marketing and agri-tourism, as well as the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety’s Agri-Tourism Digital Dissemination Project. Karen also serves as a board member of the Partnership for Rural Nebraska and chairperson for the Western Nebraska Development Network. Karen is a native of Nebraska and has her office in Sidney.

Kathy Krogh, Accountant/Human Resources

(402) 471-3776 or kathy.krogh@nebraska.gov

Kathy oversees the finances and accounting for the Commission. She works with the budget, payroll and bill processing to ensure the Commission runs smoothly financially. She also is the main HR contact for new hires and provides information on benefits offered by the state.

Erin Lenz, Public Relations Intern

(402) 471-3791 or ntc.tourism4@nebraska.gov

Erin assists with public relations strategy for the Commission. She works with the marketing manager to produce engaging press releases, marketing content and information for journalists. She helps represent the Commission at events, trade shows and conferences throughout the state.

Kasey Ostronic, Social Media Intern

(402) 471-3784 or ntc.tourism3@nebraska.gov

Kasey assists in overseeing the Commission’s social media accounts. She works within the marketing strategy to develop posts that engage and promote Nebraska Tourism to visitors. She also compiles statistics related to each social media platform to provide insights on social media strategy.

Kaitlyn Watermeier, Travel Counselor Assistant Intern

(402) 471-3744 or ntc.tourism2@nebraska.gov

Kaitlyn assists with the Travel Counselor Program at the I-80 rest stops throughout the state. She is the contact for all travel counselors and provides them all materials, information and help they need throughout the travel season. She also helps represent the commission at events, trade shows and conferences throughout the state.