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Visitor’s Center head to retire

Katherine Zimmer at the Escondido Visitor’s Center.

Katherine Zimmer, who has run the City’s Visitor’s Center for seven years, is retiring  from the City of Escondido and moving back to Napa.

She will say goodbye to well-wishers on Tuesday. She commented, “My heart is full from my 7 plus years here … I’ve loved my work and life because of all of the amazing people I now call friends!” 

In 2018 Zimmer was honored at the North San Diego Business Chamber’s 2018 Leadership Awards for her work at the Center, which is located on Grand Avenue.

She was presented the award at the North San Diego Business Chamber’s annual Celebration of Business.

Zimmer was praised for running the visitors center: “Since 2012, Katherine Zimmer has 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. Katherine embodies an energetic and inviting approach to communications and collaboration, always seeking a win-win in creative and diverse partnerships. Katherine’s leadership in tourism has injected an energetic, contemporary, innovative spirit into a community and region literally overflowing with both history and potential.”

Escondido City Manager Jeffrey Epp described her as “such an enthusiastic ambassador for Escondido, all of our visitor attractions, and our very special downtown area.”

 “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.

Mike Peters, of Pacific Western Bank and Charlie Piscitello of Petco Foundation presented the 2018 Leadership Award to Visit Escondido’s Katherine Zimmer. Photo by Xavier Bailey Photography

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.”

Others credited Zimmer for helping arts organizations and museums to work together effectively in today’s competitive marketplace and get the word out about their offerings. She helped some apply for grants, which led to greater cultural opportunities for residents and visitors alike. 

Zimmer also contributed to the world of dining. One of Visit Escondido’s most successful events, “Dine Out Escondido!” restaurant week began under Zimmer seven years ago. 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. 

Another admirer added, “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.”

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