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 8:30 AM to 10 AM on the first Thursday of every month. Meetings are held via Zoom videoconferencing. 

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

The next meeting of the Tourism Development Committee takes place 8:30 AM Thursday, September 1, 2022.  This will be a Special Meeting for the committee to make final funding recommendations for the 2023 Tourism Events Grant Funding Program.  

Time: 8:30 AM

Location: Zoom Link

Agenda posted prior to meeting date.

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 

Toby Nixon - Chair (term expires 03/31/2023)

Councilmember and TDC Chairperson Toby Nixon headshotToby Nixon, Chair

Toby Nixon has served on the Kirkland City Council since January 2012, and as chair of the Tourism Development Committee since 2013. He grew up in a tourism-dependent area of Northern California and has traveled extensively around the world for his employment in the computer industry. He’s had a lifelong interest in event management, and considered a career in hotel and restaurant management prior to deciding on high tech. He’s also deeply involved in musical performance, and a former boat owner, both important areas for tourism in Kirkland. More information about his background is available here: Kirkland City Council.


Rod Lapasin - Woodmark Hotel (term expires 03/31/2023)

Jac Cooper headshotRod Lapasin

Rod Lapasin joined the Tourism Development Committee in 2022. He is the General Manager of the Woodmark Hotel and Still Spa in Kirkland. Rod brings over 40 years of tourism-related experience to the committee and previously was on the economic development council for the City of Snoqualmie.




Lori Goldfarb - World Class Corporate Events (term expires 03/31/2023)

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 03/31/2023)

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.


Skye Branson - Courtyard Seattle Kirkland Marriott (term expires 03/31/2023)

Skye Branson Image Skye Branson

Skye Branson is the General Manager of the Courtyard Kirkland Marriott located in Totem Lake, just minutes from The Village at Totem Lake. Skye has worked in the hospitality industry for 11 years at Marriott branded hotels in King County.  Skye has been devoted to the hospitality industry since she was a child. Growing up, her father was a Task Force Manager with Starwood and so Skye got to spend her weekends staying at different hotels on the East Coast and fell in love with the hospitality industry.

Skye is also passionate about the education system and providing career experience to youth in Kirkland. She volunteers her time working with classes in the Lake Washington School District and providing intern opportunities for high school students.

Jackie Socha – Kirkland Urban (term expires 03/31/2023)

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.

Mike Hill – Heathman Hotel (term expires 03/31/2023)

Mike Hill ImageMike Hill

Mike Hill is the General Manager at The Heathman Hotel Kirkland, the only boutique hotel located in the vibrant neighborhood of downtown Kirkland. In this role, Hill oversees and manages the daily operations of the property. Additionally, Hill has Area Manager responsibilities in Business Development and oversees the Facilities Workgroup with Columbia Hospitality, the management company that operates The Heathman. Hill brings more than a decade of hotel experience to The Heathman, with a majority of his time in management roles at Kimpton Hotels in Seattle where he served as Complex General Manager for Kimpton Hotel Monaco Seattle and Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle. Prior to his positions in Seattle, he was the General Manager of the Kimpton Grand Hotel in Minneapolis.