About

Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission is a non-profit organization dedicated to marketing Western Montana as a travel destination. We are recognized by TAC (Tourism Advisory Council) and the state as the official marketing organization for Western Montana. Glacier Country is funded in part by the state accommodations tax (bed tax) and by private membership funds. Geographically, Glacier Country includes Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli and Sanders counties.

MISSION: Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to a balanced partnership among eight western Montana counties (Flathead, Glacier, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Ravalli, and Sanders), Glacier National Park and other entities, to effectively market the region to visitors and educate the public regarding the value of tourism, while encouraging respect for our outstanding natural environment and quality of life.

We, yearly, create a marketing plan to establish a strategy for all of Glacier Country’s advertising and publicity to: A) Reach Glacier Country’s identified markets and audiences; B) Present them with a unified message; C) Create a desire to visit and, D) Get visitors to come and stay in Glacier Country.

VALUES STATEMENT: We will passionately pursue our mission with honesty, integrity, equality and respect.

Honesty
Operate fairly and with transparency to earn the trust of public and private partners, members and the travel and tourism industry at large.

Integrity
Exercise sound judgment and leadership benefiting residents and visitors to Western Montana.

Equality & Respect
Celebrate and honor the diversity of Glacier Country’s communities, cultures and natural beauty to foster a united sense of place.

Glacier Country’s professional, dedicated and enthusiastic staff loves promoting Western Montana’s Glacier Country as a travel destination.

 

Racene Friede, Executive Director

Heralding from the small Montana cattle town of Ovando, Racene Friede grew up on the southern end of the Crown of the Continent—an upbringing that helped establish her inherent love for Big Sky Country. Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from Montana State University, Racene has spent the majority of her professional career promoting travel and tourism to Montana. Since 2007, Racene has put her more than 24 years of marketing experience to work as the Executive Director for Glacier Country Tourism and has been a key player in helping to make tourism one of the top two industries in the state. In addition to leading one of Montana’s largest DMOs (destination marketing organization), Racene is also actively involved with Tourism Matters to Montana, Voices of Montana Tourism and the Blackfoot Challenge.

 

Kristi McNeal, Office Manager

A western girl at heart, Kristi McNeal has spent most of her adult life in Montana’s Missoula Valley and has lived in the charming small town of Frenchtown for more than 20 years. Kristi started helping in her family’s businesses at an early age, where she learned to work hard and balance the various tasks needed to successfully run a business. Equipped with more than 25 years of experience in financial management and accounting, Kristi joined Glacier Country Tourism as the Office Manager in 2011, a position that merges her keen eye for detail with her passion for travel. As Office Manager, Kristi is responsible for keeping Glacier Country’s private and public budgets and financials up-to-date. She also oversees Glacier Country’s partnership program and works with our 300+ member partners.

 

Debbie Picard, Tourism Sales Manager

A Washington native, Debbie Picard was born and raised just north of Seattle in the scenic town of Edmonds. Growing up on the Puget Sound, she caught the travel bug while participating in a high school summer exchange program to Europe. With her love for travel firmly established, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communication from Western Washington University, a degree she soon put to work in her sales career promoting Washington as a travel destiation. Throughout her years in Washington, Debbie and her husband—along with their triplets—spent several weeks each year vacationing in Montana where they soon fell in love with the state’s natural beauty, outdoor activities and people. She brings more than 16 years of experience in the travel industry to Glacier Country Tourism, where she has worked as the Tourism Sales Manager since 2012 in a role that seamlessly blends her sales experience with her love of Western Montana as she sells its offering to different markets all over the world.

 

Nicole Gonzalez, Marketing Assistant and Social Media Coordinator

A Montana local, Nicole Gonzlez was raised in the small town of Augusta along the Rocky Mountain Front. Growing up in a family that has strong roots in Mexico and Scotland, an appetite for travel was instilled in her at an early age as her parents ensured that traveling and learning about her family history, as well as new cultures, was a priority. After graduating from Carroll College in Helena, Montana—where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Communication—Nicole spent two years in Great Falls where she worked in marketing, sales and promotion. She joined the Glacier Country Tourism team in September 2015 as a Marketing Assistant, where she has seamlessly combined her professional skills with her love of travel and Montana.

 

 

Lucy Guthrie Beighle, Public Relations and Earned Media Manager

Lucy Guthrie Beighle has called Missoula home for over three decades and is raising her soon-to-be teenagers to appreciate all the magic Montana has to offer. Originally from Scotland, she moved to Montana as a child. Her father described it to her as a place with the “friendliest people on earth,” and Lucy quickly found that to be indisputable. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder and then a master’s from the University of Montana, and she has been in the communications field ever since. She teaches public relations in the communication studies department at the University of Montana, and most recently owned a public relations consulting business where she worked with clients in the hospitality, conservation, arts, music, technology, food, education and medical industries. Lucy’s specialty is helping people tell their story, and she brings this passion to the many diverse communities in Western Montana, all of which have unique and captivating stories to tell.