Instructors

Meet the Experts

Ted Ent

While working toward his BBA Degree in Management at Southwest Texas State University, Ted worked as an executive chef and ran his own catering business. Over the course of his distinguished career, Ted has worked in many preeminent destinations – as Corporate Director of Food and Beverage at Canyon Ranch Resorts and Health Spas, Director of Food and Beverage at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch Resort and in various properties and corporate positions with Hilton Worldwide, culminating as Vice President and Managing Director of Development. His diverse experience in the industry most recently led him to serve as president and COO of the Texas-based MH Hospitality.

He has been a guest lecturer at the University Nevada Las Vegas Hospitality School, Penn State University School of Hospitality and Conrad Hilton School of Hospitality at the University of Houston, as well as a regular panelist at the New York University Hotel Investment Conference, American Lodging Investment Summit, The Lodging Conference and many other hotel industry events.

Ted believes in the power of hospitality to change lives. His commitment to doing things that matter is not only professional, but also personal. Ted and his family give back through what they call the ‘Three Ts of Philanthropy’ – time, talent and treasure.


 

Donna Kirby

Raised in southern California, Donna Kirby relocated to Pensacola in January of 2009, and is proud to call Florida home. Prior to joining the Blue Wahoos' front office staff, Donna's career was mainly based in the entertainment industry working for such leaders as Warner Bros, NBC/Universal, and The Walt Disney Company. During her tenure with the Blue Wahoos, Donna has managed several departments including merchandise, community relations, promotions, non-traditional revenue, and stadium operations. In her role as Vice President of Operations, Donna manages an award-winning game day staff and oversees a robust surveying platform that has helped earn the Wahoos the title of #1 Fan Experience in Minor League Baseball.

Donna studied Economics at California State University, Long Beach. On her days away from the stadium, Donna enjoys spending time with her dog, Maggie, learning new recipes for vegan cooking and exploring all of the exciting things there are to do along the Florida Gulf Coast.


 

D.C. Reeves

D.C. Reeves, a Pensacola native, is the founder and CEO of Perfect Plain Brewing Company. He opened Perfect Plain in November 2017 and focused its mission on community building and the organic creation of an incredible craft beer experience.

D.C. Reeves also serves as the Chief Entrepreneurship Officer at The Spring, while also serving as the Chief of Staff for Quint Studer at the Studer Family of Companies. D.C. is also an entrepreneur himself. He opened Perfect Plain Brewing Company in downtown Pensacola in November 2017 and focused its mission on community building and the organic creation of an incredible craft beer experience. Perfect Plain quickly became one of the busiest taprooms in the state of Florida. D.C. recently authored a book, The Microbrewery Handbook, outlining Perfect Plain’s success.

Before joining Studer Family of Companies, D.C., an FSU graduate, spent a decade as a sports journalist, most recently covering the University of Alabama for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tuscaloosa News from 2013 to 2015.


 

Patti Spaniola

Patti Spaniola has a deeply rooted passion for hospitality and a diverse range of experience in the field. Her career began in a restaurant learning all the fine details of great service. Next, she moved to a conference resort working at the front desk (the heart of all hotels). Soon, she ventured into event planning, conference coordination, and sales. After a full career at the conference resort, she transitioned into a planner for one organization. Instead of participants coming to the conference resort, she traveled with the conference and experienced a new perspective. This new perspective made a big impact and jump-started her journey to design and organize meaningful experiences for every participant.

Currently a planner at the University of West Florida (UWF), Patti initiated a Strategic Meeting Management Program (SMMP) at UWF bringing together over 110 UWF planners for educational events and networking. She and a UWF colleague created the UWF Certificate in Event Planning. She facilitates event design and event basics workshops and presents at conferences. She has volunteered for Association for Continuing Higher Education serving on planning committees and as co-chair for the annual conference.

Patti earned an MBA from Regis University in Colorado Springs, CO and a Bachelor of Science in Speech from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. She is a member of Meetings Professional International (MPI), Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP), and Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN). She is proud to be a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified Event Designer (CED).


 

Nicole Stacey

Nicole Stacey joined the Visit Pensacola team in 2016 as the director of marketing and communications. She is responsible for overseeing the organization's domestic and international marketing efforts, the organization's agency, Showcase Pensacola, grant allocations, public relations, brand identity, social media, and web design.

Prior to Visit Pensacola, Stacey was the executive director of the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, where she was responsible for the day to day operations. She has over nine years of marketing and communications experience and has been in the tourism and hospitality industry for more than seventeen decades.

Nicole is a graduate of Leadership Pensacola's class of 2015, and she was named an InWeekly Rising Star in 2013. She holds a master's degree in strategic communications and leadership and a B.A. in public relations and marketing from the University of West Florida.