Tourism Development Committee

Explore Kirkland logo

The Tourism Development Committee (TDC) advises the Council on allocating the lodging excise tax fund for tourism promotion and is comprised of seven voting members. State statute establishes the specific makeup of the committee which consists of one member of the Kirkland City Council (who serves as chair), three representatives from organizations representing businesses required to collect the lodging tax, and three representatives of organizations involved in activities authorized to be funded by lodging tax revenue or local agencies involved in tourism promotion. Appointments are made by the City Council and membership terms are reviewed annually.

The TDC meets from 9 AM to 10 AM on the first Thursday of every month. The TDC members continue to meet virtually via Zoom videoconferencing. The public is welcome to join virtually by clicking on the Zoom link below or can attend in-person at City Hall in the Norkirk room on the second floor.

More about Tourism in the City of Kirkland

Beginning in 2002, a one percent excise tax collected on charges for lodging and motel room fees has been deposited in a lodging tax fund and used primarily for the purposes of funding tourism promotion to increase hotel occupancy, provide visitor attractions, and improve the City's overall image. TDC activities are guided by state RCW (RCW 67.28.080). The City's tourism promotion efforts are administered by tourism staff in the City Manager's Office. The program is branded as Explore Kirkland, which has its own website and Facebook page

Next Tourism Development Committee Meeting

Date:  May 2, 2024

Time: 9:30 AM

Location: Norkirk Room, City Hall or Virtual 

Zoom link

Agenda posted prior to the meeting

If you have any questions about the meeting, contact Tourism staff at:

 Past Meeting Archives Past Meeting Recordings

Note: The City of Kirkland appreciates the interest of our community members and values public involvement. We make every effort to make the recordings of our meetings available soon after each meeting is completed. However, due to technical difficulties that may occur with our digital recording system it may take up to four days for a recording to become available online. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Meet the Tourism Development Committee 

Penny Sweet (Chair) - Kirkland Councilmember

Penny Sweet ImageCouncilmember Penny Sweet

Councilmember Sweet moved to Kirkland in 1985 where she and her husband, Representative Larry Springer, have owned and operated The Grape Choice, a retail wine shop in downtown Kirkland for 34 years. Over the years, Councilmember Sweet has been an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Kirkland Downtown Association, and the Kirkland Heritage Society. In 1999, Councilmember Sweet founded Celebrate Kirkland, Inc., a non-profit organization that created and organizes Kirkland's annual 4th of July celebration. Since aligning Celebrate Kirkland with the Kirkland Downtown Association, she has continued to chair the event as she has for 20 years.

Councilmember Sweet began her first term on the Kirkland City Council in January 2010. She served as Deputy Mayor from 2010-2011, and 2014-2015. The Kirkland City Council selected Councilmember Penny Sweet to serve as Mayor for the remainder of 2019, and again in 2021-2023.

Amy Falcone (Vice Chair) - Kirkland Councilmember

Amy Falcone ImageCouncilmember Amy Falcone

A Kirkland resident since 2014, Councilmember Falcone lives in the Finn Hill neighborhood with her husband and three children. She and her husband fell in love with Kirkland when they moved to the Pacific Northwest, particularly enamored by the City's lush park system, vibrant downtown core, and vital sense of community.

She is the current PTO Co-President at LWSD’s Environmental and Adventure School and also sits on the PTA board at Thoreau Elementary School, where she has served in various leadership positions. Councilmember Falcone has also served on the Finn Hill Neighborhood Alliance (FHNA) board of directors and represented Finn Hill on the Kirkland Neighborhood Safety Panel for four years as well as serving as events committee chair and treasurer on the FHNA.

Lori Goldfarb - World Class Corporate Events (term expires 03/31/2025)

Professional headshot Lori GoldfarbLori Goldfarb 

Lori Goldfarb, CMP is a prior resident of Kirkland, Washington (and one parent still resides here). Lori has enjoyed the honor of serving on the Kirkland TDC since 2015. Lori’s professional perspective emanates from her role as President of World Class Corporate Events, Inc.— a site selection, planning and destination management company. With new opportunities present in 2020, Lori has added another layer of expertise, thanks to her role as a real estate broker with CBBain, focused on Kirkland’s beautiful and diverse neighborhoods.

She recognizes that Kirkland's unique combination of waterfront and shopping opportunities, restaurants, art galleries/installations and access to parks and trails draws guests and residents alike, to stay in Kirkland to experience it all. Lori is a past president of the Washington State Chapter of Meeting Professionals International; was chair of the Global RISE Awards Committee for Meeting Professionals International, and most recently received MPI’s Washington State Corbin Ball Industry Leadership Award for her continuing devotion to travel and tourism. 


Phil Megenhardt - Bold Hat Productions (term expires 03/31/2025)

Professional headshot of Phil Megenhardt, member of the TDCPhil Megenhardt

Phil Megenhardt is a creative event director with vast experience in event production and a passion for community building, brand activations, and flawless event execution. Phil founded Bold Hat Productions in 1997 on the roots of over 20 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience. As President and Creative Director of Bold Hat, Phil has created several signature Puget Sound area events, including nationally recognized Fremont Oktoberfest and Kirkland Uncorked, in addition to many corporate and municipal celebrations.


Jackie Socha - Kirkland Urban (term expires 03/31/2025)

Jackie Socha Image Jackie Socha

Jackie Socha is the General Manager at Kirkland Urban, a word class, award winning mixed use development located in the heart of the downtown Kirkland core featuring various premiere retail and office space.  Jackie graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Minor in Scandinavian Studies.  Over the past 16 years, Jackie has worked in various roles in Real Estate and is working for JLL, an international commercial real estate company.  She has been assigned to Kirkland Urban for the past 4 years.

Being born and spending a lot of her childhood in Stockholm, Sweden, Jackie grew up traveling and seeing the world through the eyes of a tourist.  After relocating to the Seattle area, she quickly made the Pacific Northwest her home and hasn't left since! She has grown up on the east side and lived in the Bridle Trails neighborhood of Kirkland for 10 years before relocating to Duvall where she resides now with her two young daughters (9 and 4).  Jackie loves spending time with her girls exploring new areas, finding new restaurants, and attempting DIY projects around the house (some end up better than others!).  She is very excited about the future of Kirkland and the potential of tourism for the area and surrounding businesses.

Scott Guthrie - Woodmark Hotel and Still Spa (term expires 03/31/2025)

Scott Guthrie headshotScott Guthrie 

Scott Guthrie has been with the Woodmark Hotel and Still Spa since 2020 and was appointed their General Manager in 2022. Prior to The Woodmark, Scott served as Hotel Manager for the SLS Seattle and then acting General Manager for Equinox Hotel. Scott honed his hospitality management career in New York as Director of Front Desk Operations at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel, helping the property to achieve a AAA 5 Diamond and Forbes 5 Star Awards in 2013. He returned to his Northwest roots in 2014 to serve as Hotel Manager and ultimately General Manager for Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, where he led the historic property to new heights. In the ten years prior, Scott built the foundation of his hospitality centric career. He managed front office operations at New York’s Intercontinental Barclay Hotel; opened operations at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas; and held front desk, meeting sales and conference services positions at the renowned Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Scott began his career in 1999 and held various management positions at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Seattle.


Vacant (term expires 03/31/2025)

Vacant (term expires 03/31/2025)