Jeff Forney—the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau’s vice president of marketing, membership and special projects—announced Wednesday that he is leaving the organization after a 22-year career in order to spend more time with his family.

Since joining the CVB in 2001, Forney became a well-known name in marketing circles for his work promoting Long Beach as a tourism and business destination, but his most visible job locally was likely the special events he produced for the CVB. Anyone who attended Long Beach’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony has heard Forney’s voice as emcee of the performance.

During a CVB board meeting Wednesday, Forney said he planned to take the summer off to spend time with his wife and son. After that, he’d begin looking for other opportunities, saying he wanted to do something new but so far had nothing lined up.

“It’s been an incredible 22 years here at the bureau,” Forney said after a standing ovation from his organization’s board.

Economic Development Director Bo Martinez thanked Forney on behalf of the city of Long Beach, calling him an advocate and champion for the community who would always say yes “to any question or comments or requests that you have.”

CVB CEO and President Steve Goodling said Forney’s duties would be taken over by Vice President of Client Relations Courtney Russell, Vice President of Communications Samantha Mehlinger and John Edmond, who was recently hired to handle public affairs.

Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.