Lynn Fuhler

Tourism Marketing
Festivals + Events

 “If you suggest to me that something’s not possible, I take that as an invitation.”

What kind of work did you do before you established Savvy Rooster?
To some extent, I’ve always been involved in some form of hospitality. Going back to high school and college, I worked at my father’s retail business. I have a true entrepreneurial spirit and feel that genuine customer service is key to any successful business. I credit this philosophy for the reason we have many long-term clients. When I started working for my dad, he required me to say hello to every person who walked through the door which wasn’t easy for a shy and introverted teenager. However, it was exactly what I needed. The family business provided me a great foundation. Yes, I was once shy.

My family loves to camp. Once my dad started his own company, we camped closer to home at Carlyle Lake in Southern Illinois. As time went on, my parents bought a summer home there. When not working at the store and going to school, I volunteered at the lake’s Hobie Cat rental just so I could sail. I enjoyed teaching people the fundamentals of sailing – how to harness the wind and how to tack and jibe. I also helped create promotional materials for the company and was involved when the regional media came out to showcase sailing as a summer activity for the readers or viewers. I have very fond memories and only wish I could sail more often.

During my final year at college in my degree program – Transportation, Travel and Tourism – a class on tour operators required us to create, package, market and run tours. Triple T Tours (a moniker for our degree program) developed a wine tour to Hermann and Augusta, Mo. Back in the early 80s, I didn’t know what an American Viticultural Area (AVA) was or that The Augusta AVA was the very first one in the U.S. in 1980s. Triple T Tours may have been one of the very first wine tour groups. Pretty amazing. A huge thank you our instructor Nancy Veitch for the assignment.

We also created and ran a ski trip to Devil’s Head Ski Resort in Barabou, Wis., for fellow students. Many life lessons were learned and mistakes were paid for by selling candy in the dorm.

Savvy Rooster is owned and operated by Flying Compass, a tourism marketing company, based in Winston-Salem, NC.

How did you enter the field of travel and tourism marketing?
With my B.S. degree in Transportation, Travel and Tourism in hand from St. Louis University’s Parks College and an internship at the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau under my belt, I packed up my car and headed to the West Coast of Florida. I applied for two open positions and was hired as the Tourism and Conventions Director of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Can you share how you were introduced to beer and wine?
As you can probably tell by my last name, my ancestors are German – both sides. My first recollection of beer was as a child. My father would tell me to go to Eddie Young’s tavern a half a block away and get him a pint of Stag beer. It was totally illegal. While Anheuser Busch brewery was located nearby in St. Louis, the local (inexpensive beer) everyone drank was Stag which was manufactured in Belleville. We had a family friend who worked there until the plant closed in the 1980s. Stag still exists and is now based in San Antonio, Tex. During high school everyone drank PBR and tastes have changed and grown over the years to now support local craft brewers. During a trip to Portland we visited Bridgeport Brewery before it became famous in the TV series, Leverage.

In the late 70s, my three brothers started collecting empty beer cans. I remember traveling abroad for work, buying cans of beer, pouring it out, bringing them home and adding them to their collection. The walls of shelves were filled. One brother still has them stored in boxes.

I believe wine is an evolution in taste. I’m from a small, rural farm community in Southern Illinois outside of St. Louis.  Little towns are spaced five miles apart and separated by corn, wheat and soybean fields and farms with dairy cows and pigs.

A high school football game was my first introduction to Boone’s Farm strawberry wine. Fortunately I was the designated driver that night. During college we moved on to the twist cap Riunite. Nancy Veitch our wonderful college instructor schooled us on wines and introduced us to corked wines. In particular, I remember a Riesling and Liebfraumilch. Over the years, I moved from sweet whites to dry whites to red wines. During a trip to the Willamette Valley of Oregon, I discovered pinot noir.

The Yadkin Valley, one of three AVAs in North Carolina, is in my backyard and we can thank the Charlie and Ed Sheltons in 2002 for their foresight in helping tobacco farmers transition to grape growers and wine producers with the designation’s approval in 2003. That was shortly after we relocated to North Carolina. Discovering the many wines has been a delight.

I’ve also enjoyed working with clients who organize beer dinners and wine dinners and pair the perfect accompaniment with each dish. We also help them in participating various wine festivals including showcasing chef by holding food demonstrations. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with AAA Four Diamond restaurants, award-winning chefs, beach casual restaurant-attractions and chefs who have prepared and served dinner at the James Beard House in NYC.

Sadly, I currently have a food allergy that has limited my ability to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Exploring – hiking, taking photos, zip-lining and visiting museums, waterfalls, historic sites, state and national parks and cities. My husband and I enjoy the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., because it offers so many adventure opportunities.

We’re streamers so I thrive on TV series and movie marathons – Big Bang Theory, PBS Programming, West Wing, NCIS, Hart of Dixie, Rizzoli & Isles and a UK series New Tricks. Add to this The Voice, America’s Got Talent and Bull.

What are your pet peeves?
People who say something can’t be done. I now realize that means they can’t do it. To me, saying no is an invitation … oh ya watch me make it happen. I have a long list of conversions. On a personal level those included getting my favorite aunt and godmother’s rocking chair into our car and bringing it home after she passed away to orchestrating a turn-around in our HOA board member make-up to a more business-minded group. Yes, it IS possible to get a bank loan, pave our private streets, turn old tennis courts into a park and not raise the monthly fees. Oh ya!

Employees who use company time to play computer games or for personal matters – phone calls, texts and social media – not relevant to their job ranks pretty high.

People who discount the wisdom and life experiences of the oldest generation in the room are really missing out. What an elder may lack in computer skills can’t compare to real life knowledge and a world of common sense. Sadly the workforce today is throwing away valuable assets, as evidenced by the movie, The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro.

Tell us about your family.
I am the oldest of five. At one time I had 60 cousins, so it was easy to get lost amid the noise when my side had a gathering. My family is spread out across the eastern half of the U.S. and we visit and go on vacations together as schedule’s permit. Our immediate household is home to two four-legged brothers adopted from a local shelter. They are very smart, as any parent would claim, and find ways to make us laugh and smile everyday. The personalities are the exact opposite. One is my karma.

What’s it like to work with your spouse?
It’s actually no different than any other office environment. Each of us has an assigned role. We have established quiet times to assure interruptions don’t get in the way of productivity. We communicate digitally most of the time and we have staff meetings. Our skills sets complement one another.

What are some of the things hardly anyone else knows?
I don’t like to play board games or cards.

Tell us about your two books:
Secrets to Successful Events: How to Organize, Promote and Manage Exceptional Events and Festivals
Secrets to Successful Events Resource Guide: 42+ Easy-to-Use Forms and Tools to Save You Time and Money

One of the most searched phrases for any destination is “What’s Happening.” Travelers want to know what activities will be occurring during their visit. As a tourism marketer, I know that festivals and events are a huge draw. Having planned and worked with numerous events, I also understand what’s involved. Helping event organizers see how all the pieces fit together is win-win for the community and the tourism industry. Most importantly, the event-goers experience needs to be optimum. The decision to write the books just made sense when you consider whom all benefits.

They are available through major booksellers. The first book was named the #1 New Release on Amazon. It was also selected as a textbook for an Event Marketing course at one of the “Top 15 Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.” Learn more about me at my lynnfuhler.com.

Little things we’re working on improving about myself.
Add more yoga, meditation and exercise into my life.

What are some of your favorite places in the world?
Key West, Fla., Washington D.C. and London.

What are some of the places you’d like to visit?
Our national parks located in the western U.S. top the list – Arizona, California, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Other places in the U.S. include: Alaska, Bar Harbor and Portland, ME, Chicago, Ill., Custer State Park, Custer, S.D. (< check it out), Salt Lake City, Utah, San Diego, Calif. and Seattle, Wash.

Internationally I would like to travel to Cuba, Lake Cuomo, Italy and Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. I’d love to take the train from Halifax in eastern Canada west to Vancouver stopping along the way to enjoy Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

What are some of the strongest convictions that you hold?
With the advent of social media, people cluster with those sharing a common point of view or interest. As a society ruled by time constraints, we don’t afford ourselves the opportunity to do things with others who have different perspectives. As such, people have become more polarized. Spending time with those of varying interests and perspectives provide insights to the other side. Compromise gains support from both sides; winning at all cost means “the other guy” does not.

Showing up does not warrant a trophy. Being present and engaged will win you points, but not always the game.