shown: Virgin Falls, Sparta Tennessee
CEO, Tennessee Hotel & Lodging Association
Walt Baker started MERCATUS Communications with his partner, Phil Martin, in May 1995. Since that time, MERCATUS Communications has positioned itself as one of the premier hospitality industry marketing and communications firms in the state.
In March 2005, MERCATUS Communications entered into a management contract with Tennessee Hotel & Lodging Association to manage the operations of the Association. Under that contract, Walt became the CEO of both TH&LA and the Greater Nashville Hotel & Lodging Association and is responsible for the day-to-day management of all activities of both member Associations.
In addition to the Associations, some of MERCATUS' clients include the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Tennessee Hospital Association, Nashville Davidson County Metro Arts Commission, Polar Technology (a greenhouse gas recycling company based in Nashville), Newton Oldachre & McDonald retail developers, Source Medical, United Way of Middle Tennessee and Outback Steakhouse Sports Division where they manage the media relations for the Champion Tour's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in Tampa.
Prior to starting MERCATUS Communications, he spent 13 years as senior vice president and director of client service for Ericson Marketing Communications. He headed up a $15-plus million dollar account group which included Opryland USA, Fiesta Texas theme park, Odom's Tennessee Pride Country Sausage, Morrison's Cafeterias, Cellular One, Third National Bank, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and both the State of Tennessee Economic and Community Development and the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development. He has been instrumental in creating advertising for a number of tourism clients and gained a national reputation for the results he helped to achieve. Prior to joining Ericson, Walt spent five years with Shoney's, Inc.--the last two of which were as director of marketing for the Captain D's division, the job that brought him to Nashville from his hometown of Birmingham.
His experience focuses on marketing and communications strategy and management of all marketing, media and creative processes.