James Bolen has 23 years of management experience operating all aspects of a successful resort in Northern Wisconsin. He is a ‘hands-on’ manager who can often be found interacting with resort guests. Bolen guided the resort through an expansion project, which included annexing an adjacent resort. Under his leadership, revenue at the resort has tripled. From 2006 until 2019, he was also employed as the Executive Director for the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber oversees economic development and tourism marketing for the southern half of Bayfield County Wisconsin. During his tenure, the Cable Area saw a twenty-five percent increase in visitors, a thirty percent increase in direct visitor spending and a 35 percent increase in room tax revenue.
Wearing his tourism hat at the chamber, he successfully bid on and hosted two International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup events in 2012 and 2013. In addition he served on the Organizing Committee for the 2015 IPC Nordic World Championships which were held in Cable. It was only the second time in history that this event took place in the U.S. In 2008. Bolen was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Tourism where he served until 2017. The Council is responsible for overseeing the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s $15 M marketing budget. During his time on the Council Wisconsin saw a forty-five percent increase in direct visitor spending and their marketing efforts over the 8 years won one hundred twenty-two major national and international marketing awards. When the state recognized the potential for raising revenue by attracting more sporting events, Bolen was chosen as the Chairman of the state’s Sports Marketing Committee. In 2016, the State of Wisconsin awarded James the Governor’s Service Excellence award.
For fifteen years, he served as a commissioner on the Town of Cable Planning Commission. Currently Bolen serves on the Board of the prestigious Forest Lodge property – an 870-acre estate, managed by the U.S Forest Service as a premier center for environmental leadership, sustainability, and conservation education. Bolen also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation. He helped guide Bayfield County in qualifying for the PACE program, which provides equity funding for economic development.