Schimmel appointed to another four-year term on county’s Tourist Development Council

Former vice president of Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota also applied for position

Editor’s note: This article was updated in the evening of July 17 to correct information about David Rovine’s position with the Orioles.

Norman Schimmel. File photo

The vice chair of the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) has won another four-year term on that advisory board, thanks to a unanimous vote of the Sarasota County Commission.

When the TDC members conducted their most recent meeting — on June 18 — county staff noted that the term of Norman Schimmel would be ending soon. Schimmel, a Sarasota resident, told his colleagues that he would be applying to stay on the council. He first was appointed to the TDC in March 2013, according to county records provided to the commission in the July 8 agenda packet.

As it turned out, the only other person vying for the open seat was David Rovine, who served as vice president of the Baltimore Orioles’ operations in Sarasota County for seven years, until November 2019. Schimmel has been a big supporter of the team since it began Spring Training in the county more than 10 years ago. In fact, he has worked on a volunteer basis with the Orioles, taking countless photos through the years at games in Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

After Kim Radtke, director of the county’s Office of Financial Management, presented the July 8 agenda item, Commissioner Alan Maio nominated Schimmel for another term on the TDC. Commissioner Charles Hines, who chairs the advisory council, seconded it.

The term is for four years, through July 2024, Radtke noted.

Following Chair Michael Moran’s announcement of the 5-0 vote in favor of the nomination, Hines said, “Two incredibly qualified individuals.” Referring to Schimmel, Hines added, “He’s very active, involved, and deserves to continue his service.”

Nonetheless, Hines continued, “Dave would be excellent, based on his knowledge and expertise, so I hope we can find an opening for him [at some future date].”

Then Maio pointed out that he should not have been so quick to make the nomination, given Hines’ leadership of the TDC. Maio asked Moran whether it would be appropriate for the clerk to the board to revise the record to show that Hines made the nomination and that Maio seconded it.

Moran chuckled, but no one actually directed the clerk to make the change.

“Are we blessed enough to have those two applicants for that position,” Moran responded, concurring with Hines that he hoped Rovine could serve on the TDC in the future.

David Rovine. Photo courtesy Economic Development Corp. of Sarasota County

In his application, Rovine noted that the Orioles’ mission and business goal was “to drive tourism to Sarasota. Through an aggressive and successful advertising and marketing plan we were able to make the Baltimore/Washington market one of the top 3 annual origins for visitation to Sarasota. When I started with the Orioles,” Rovine continued, “the Baltimore/Washington market was 13th for visitation.”

Rovine also noted, “Nearly all of the businesses I owned or managed throughout my career were in Florida and each was dependent on tourism for its survival.”

For examples, he pointed out, he owned and managed Once Upon A Stage Dinner Theatre in Orlando for 13 years, and he was director of marketing for Gulfstream Park in Hallendale for nine years.

Schimmel wrote in his application that he has been a county resident for 11 years, having served in leadership positions with a number of companies — both domestic and international — prior to his retirement. Among them were Normande Lighting and Tensor Corp., he added.

His goal in seeking reappointment to the TDC, he noted, was to work to increase the revenue and employment in the county’s largest industry, which is tourism. In doing so, he wrote, he would use the expertise he gained over a 53-year-long career in business.

Schimmel further pointed out on his application that he supplies photography — “at no charge” — to the county; the City of Sarasota; the county’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County; and ABC-TV, for the promotion of tourism.

Attendance records for the TDC, which also were provided to the commission last week, showed that Schimmel was present for every meeting in 2018 and for 83% of them in 2019. In the latter year, he missed one session. Thus far for this year, his attendance record has been perfect.