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New tourism director brings big city ideas to the Quad Cities

This morning on Good Morning Quad Cities, Eric Sorensen had "Breakfast With..." the new President and CEO of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dave Herrell.

Herrell comes to the Quad Cities from Jacksonville, Florida where he was the city's Sports and Entertainment Officer. He also served as the city's liaison with professional sports franchises, local universities, and the PGA Tour. In addition, he was responsible for overseeing multiple city-owned venues.

A native of St. Louis, he also held management positions in Nashville and Phoenix.

With a background in sports, he believes it is a big driver of the economy. "People who come to town spend for sports spend money. It's big business from an economic development perspective."

He is expected at a press conference to unveil a tournament at the new TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf this morning. He said the multi-day sporting event is a "global" game. "It's a huge thing for our community and we were able to pull it off in a short amount of time." WQAD News 8 will have live coverage on News8@11.

When asked how the Quad City region is going to attract tourism, he said "We are fortunate to be positioned geographically, because there are six different metro areas within 300 miles of us representing 37 million people."

His focus isn't just on the Midwest. "We also want to expand nationally and internationally. We have to look at our business plan and how we expand it." People in the Midwest are looking for different places, not just the larger markets."

When asked what he's looking forward to exploring next? It's pizza. He's heard of "Quad City Style," but hasn't made allegiance to any specific pizzeria yet.

Watch our Facebook-Live After Show with Dave Herrell:

Today's "Breakfast With..." took place at a new Quad City restaurant. Riverfront Grille is located near the corner of 34th Street and Blackhawk Road in Rock Island. Jerry Bergheger is the restaurant's owner and chef with thirty years of culinary experience. Bergheger is a lifelong Quad Citian and is excited to be a local business owner in Rock Island and the Quad City Region. "Business has been good since we opened in July." When asked what he likes most off the menu? "Steak, all the way."