Escondido Visitors Center’s Zimmer Nominated For Leadership Award

By News Desk

Image caption: Katherine Zimmer, Escondido’s Visitor’s Center and tourism marketing manager has been nominated for a Leadership Award by her peers. Winners to be announced at the North San Diego Business Chamber’s annual Celebration of Business dinner on June 27 at the Bernardo Winery.

The North San Diego Business Chamber’s Leadership Awards honor individuals who have positively impacted another individual, a business/organization/agency, or their community. Each year North County’s best and brightest are nominated by industry peers and celebrated with San Diego County’s business community at the “Celebration of Business” event. This year, the gala dinner is on June 27, under the stars, at Bernardo Winery.

“I’m honored and excited to be nominated for this Leadership Award! The recognition of my work feels fantastic, but I’m really grateful for this opportunity to shine a broader light on all of the diverse, tourism-centric businesses and wonderful events in Escondido.” said Zimmer, who is also tourism and marketing manager for the City of Escondido.

We at The Times-Advocate didn’t have to work hard to write this article.  Ms. Zimmer’s industry peers in the San Diego community did that for us. Following are excerpts from the nominations and quotes from community leaders.

“Katherine Zimmer has, since 2012, made San Diego North a much better place through her work with Visit Escondido. Her vision and energy have brought together the work of hundreds of business people, non-profit leaders, and residents, helping make Escondido a thriving part of a region that is increasingly attractive as a place to live and to visit,” wrote the owner of a countywide media business.

“Katherine’s job of promoting attractions and businesses in Escondido is greatly benefited by her diverse experience and natural ability to bring people together with a common purpose,” wrote Rodger Grove, owner of Forgotten Barrel Winery. “Her initial priorities for Visit Escondido were to work with the Arts, Restaurants and Wineries in order to elevate Escondido’s presence as a robust tourist destination in all three of these areas.  Her hard work over the past six years has culminated in each of these groups organizing together to bring awareness not only to Escondido but the Greater North County Region.  She works closely with her county-wide industry partners and local stakeholders to garner far-reaching promotion for all of the amazing attractions and events in Escondido.”

Another quote came from one of Escondido’s most visible organizations: “It is with great pleasure that the California Center for the Arts, Escondido chose to nominate Katherine Zimmer for this Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and determined efforts in raising awareness for Escondido as a cultural arts hub. Katherine’s efforts have truly made a significant difference in our tourism economic impact and in really bringing our community together,” said Josie Shepherd, marketing director for the Center.

Rodger Grove, owner of one of the newest wineries in Escondido, Forgotten Barrel, along with his operations manager, Karen Lonsway felt strongly about nominating Zimmer, saying, “We are happy to nominate Katherine for this well-deserved Leadership Award due to her tireless efforts to promote the Escondido Wine Region.  As head of Visit Escondido, she has worked for six years to promote the wineries in Escondido and grow the region. By organizing and facilitating meetings with all of the local wineries, Katherine kicked off the first Escondido Wineries meeting about a year ago, bringing us together with the intent of promoting and marketing our region as a viable destination for San Diego wine with more focus and engagement directly from the wineries.  With her guidance and diligent efforts, our wineries are officially forming the Escondido Wine Region organization. Without Katherine’s drive and dedication, the wineries and other groups would not be where they are today!”

The owner of the countywide media business added, “Katherine embodies an energetic and inviting approach to communications and collaboration, always seeking a win-win in creative and diverse partnerships. She has built a broad network that puts out a positive, inclusive message, including everything from bringing together Visit Escondido’s engaging new website, her leadership with multiple local groups of businesses, and active participation in professional organizations throughout the county and the state.”

The media owner added, “What Escondido had been developing for many years – a 21st century arts district built upon a historic downtown – Katherine has helped take to an entirely new level. Based on the work of many before her, Katherine helps arts organizations and museums work together effectively in today’s competitive marketplace and get the word out about their offerings. Katherine’s leadership has helped some apply for grants, which will help them offer greater cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Traditional events such as Grape Day continue to evolve, while other events emerge such as Magic in the Park and this summer, a partnership with the incomparable California Center for the Arts, Escondido for a concert series featuring local wineries.”

A third area of Katherine’s contributions relates to the world of dining. One of Visit Escondido’s most successful events, “Dine Out Escondido!” restaurant week is approaching its 6th anniversary. This partnership with Visit California has brought together more than 35 local restaurants of all kinds, taking Escondido’s reputation as a budding culinary destination and harnessing it to benefit the North County Food Bank. Truly, everyone wins with this event.

We’ll give the last word to the media business owner, “Any good idea needs a champion. And welcoming the world to Escondido and San Diego North requires a person who can think big while still attending to all the details. Katherine Zimmer’s leadership in tourism has injected an energetic, contemporary, innovative spirit into a community and region literally overflowing with both history and potential. It’s a beautiful combination, and thanks to Katherine, ever more people will come to know about it firsthand.”

You can find more information about all of the great things to do and see in Escondido at and for more information on the North San Diego Business Chamber, visit:

Article reprinted with permission from the