A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management, Darien has worked for Holiday Inn Corporation, Marriott Hotels, and Tharaldson Lodging. It was with Tharaldson Lodging, as an Area Director responsible for 13 hotels in 8 different markets, that Darien began working closely with destination marketing organizations. Darien eventually left Tharaldson Lodging to become the Executive Director for the Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau in 1998.
In April of 2000, Darien joined the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau. During his 13 years as the Executive Director, Marathon County rose from 17th to 9th out of 72 counties in Wisconsin for Economic Impact from traveler spending. Darien expanded the role of the CVB by creating a Sports Authority function that was responsible for developing new sporting events. Darien joined the Lake Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Convention & Visitors Bureau in November 2013. Under Darien’s leadership, the two organizations were merged into Visit Lake Geneva in 2016.
Darien joined Visit Big Bear in 2017 as President & CEO to promote the resort community of Big Bear Lake, CA. In addition to growing tourism receipts by 83% in three years, Darien directed the purchase and renovation of a 5,000 sq. ft. building for a new Visitor Center and offices.
Darien and his wife, Karen, moved to Pensacola in April of 2020 when he accepted the position of President & CEO for Visit Pensacola.