Selected as the NEW Brevard Tourism Development Office Director, Peter Cranis carved out a few moments from his busy schedule to answer some of our “hard-hitting” questions and we couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity.
To begin with, please give us some background on your personal life.
My parents decided to move to Brevard from Connecticut in 1977, I went to Eau Gallie and then went on to Brevard Comm College. I moved to Orlando to go to the University of Central Florida and got a Bachelors and Masters in Communications. My very first job was a tourism job in Orlando. I worked for Telecom as well as the banking industry, but I always missed working in tourism. I had an opportunity with AAA and had the chance to be the Director of Marketing & Communications. That got me back into the tourism world. From there I went to the VISIT ORLANDO office. I was responsible for promoting tourism and business travel. I was there for 16 years as VP of Consumer Marketing where I led marketing and advertising all over the world, in 8 different countries; it was the highlight of my career. Some things changed, and I had the opportunity to move to Sarasota. I heard about the position opening up at the Travel Office on the Space Coast, it was a perfect opportunity to come back home and promote what I love to do. I’m passionate about it and and I love Brevard and I’m very excited to be back.
What inspired you to do the work you do?
After I had my first exposure to the world of tourism in Orlando, where there’s always a lot going on, I realized the industry as a whole is a great business to be in and, after working for a company that did business worldwide, it’s where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. That was my calling. Having been a resident earlier in my life, and then later on seeing the growth, Brevard is a very inspiring tourist destination because of everything that’s going on here. What’s interesting, and even exciting about it, is the combination of all the Space Coasts industries working hand-in-hand for the greater good of the community and those who come to visit; it’s something you don’t see in a lot of destinations. I have traveled and lived in Florida for over 40 years, I’ve been to many different beaches, but nobody else has the natural resources, space and technology programs, in addition to a plethora of different businesses that we have here and that in itself is very inspiring.
I lived in Connecticut for a good portion of my childhood, but when I moved to Florida there was nothing like what the Space Coast had. It’s just an amazing place. The sun, the sea, the landscape; it’s all just very, very special and I fell in love. I played a lot of tennis growing up and so having the sunshine over 300 days a year, always being able to go outside, was a great thing. Being from Cape Canaveral I got to do a lot: Jetty Park, watch the cruise ships from the Port, we had also lived on the 5th floor in a condo so I got to watch rocket launches from my balcony. So many things that were special to me, and though I won’t be living right on the beach this time around, my wife and I will absolutely enjoy all those things and more. Having lived in Orlando, I realized the beach life has its own personality; the simple fact of being able to walk to the beach and watch the sunrise or sit by the river watching birds fly over as the sun was setting, was missing from my life. It soothes the soul and I love it.
Whatisone thing you hope to achieve when you begin in your position?
Whenever you start a new role, especially something as significant as this, I want to spend a lot of time learning and listening and really trying to understand where we currently are from different aspects. But my biggest hope is really to build on the success of my predecessors, working with both political and tourism leaders, and all the great people in the community. This is not a job that you do on your own, or by yourself. You have to work with people and develop a lot of synergies and relationships, and that’s definitely a big goal of mine. I’m looking forward to working with as many people as possible, listening to their ideas, all for a common cause, which is to build the tourism business and provide for the Space Coast. Doing so will have a positive impact on the community and the people that live here by creating jobs that create business opportunities and will create more tourism development tax.
I know one big project here is related to the Indian River Lagoon, obviously there’s some legislated collection of money to help refurbish it but there’s also tourist development tax being spent on various projects as well. It’s exciting to me to see that the work that we’re doing is actually turning around and being reinvested into the community to help everyone. So it will help. Certainly it will help tourism, but more importantly, it’s going to help the residents as well.