| May 08, 2014

The first thing that stands out about Lucas Wales is his youth. At 24 he might be the youngest general manager in the 70-year history of the Land O'Lakes Tourist Association (LOLTA), which works on behalf of tourist operators in Frontenac and L&A counties and the Municipality of Tweed.

On his second day on the job last week he was being briefed by long-time administrator, Joanne Cuddy, who has provided continuity in recent months and over the years. The association has now seen five managers in the last dozen or so years.

Wales will have to learn quickly because the LOLTA Annual General Meeting is slated for May 7 this week. The LOLTA membership includes a wide variety of businesses from a large geographic area, and they are anxious to find out the direction Lucas Wales plans to take the association in.

He brings a background in municipal government and economic development and tourism. He has worked for the Municipality of Tweed on their asset management plan; in the economic development department of the Town of Marmora, and most recently, for the Eastern Ontario Trails Association on their strategic plan. Before that he attended Loyalist College in Belleville, where he studied Public Relations.

All of this background, as compact as it has been in his relatively short working life, will come in handy as Wales will have to deal with the LOLTA membership, the municipal governments who have provided financial support to the association over the years, and provincial bureaucracy and granting programs.

“One of the major focuses this summer will be to complete our contract with Fish TV, which is a two-year contract that we are in the middle of. Afterwards we will take some time to assess the contract to see how we are going to continue to serve the fishing industry locally. There are lots of other opportunities in the Land O'Lakes as well. We have trails, canoeing and kayaking, golfing, cycling, dark skies and many other opportunities to focus on,” he said.

Another focus he noted was to foster partnerships with other players such as the FAB region (Food and Beverage) Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance, the K&P Trail development and others to make sure that LOLTA members are linked in to other efforts to promote the region.

“One of the things I will be doing is meeting with some of the community development managers in the various townships and counties. I will also be looking to meet with members and other business owners to make as many connections as possible for the association,” he said.

As someone who is born and raised in the Tweed area, where he still lives, Lucas Wales is pretty familiar with the Tweed and Lennox and Addington parts of the LOLTA region. He said he is very much looking forward to getting familiar with the eastern end, to seeing the lakes, and to meeting the people who make the region a unique opportunity for visitors.

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