Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wilson searching for new Tourism Director

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Wilson County is currently in the process of hiring a new director for the convention and visitors bureau. In an effort to effectively and openly communicate with the citizens of Wilson County, I would like to give you an update on where we are with the tourism department and the search for a new tourism director.

I have put together a search committee, as I normally do for all hires that fall under the mayor's office, to help screen candidates and find the best candidate possible for the position. This committee has already met twice and is working hard to find a new director. In addition to the hiring of a new director, this committee is also discussing the tourism department as a whole and how it relates to all parts of Wilson County. For example, the committee is evaluating how the tourism department relates to the cities, the chambers, the Expo, events that already exist and new events to come.

The committee has elected Melanie Minter, the president of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce as the chairman of the committee. The other committee members are as follows: Mark Hinesley, Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce president; Cathy McCook, Watertown Chamber of Commerce president, who serves as the co-secretary of the committee; Sue Vanatta, tourism committee chairman; Larry Tomlinson, ag center director; Jeff Joines, ag center committee chairman; Charity Toombs, Wilson County Expo marketing director; Gwen Scott, Fiddlers Grove Historical Village director, who also serves as co-secretary of the committee; and Von Barr, Wilson County Human Resources director.

The open position was posted online from July 29, 2016 until August 26, 2016. Once an application was submitted, it was screened and processed. A copy was then sent to each committee member. At the close of the posting, there were 12 certified applications that were turned over to the committee. The committee decided to extend the posting by reaching out to the Tennessee Hospitality Tourism Organization and Southern Tourism Society to have them also post the job on their websites. The previous applicants are currently under review. The most recent meeting of the committee was held on Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. in the conference room at the courthouse. A timeline to complete the selection process was discussed at that time.

I would like to thank all of the individuals listed in this article for their willingness to serve in this capacity. I would like to thank Melanie Minter for her leadership as chairman of the director search committee. I also want to thank Von Barr, Wilson County Human Resources director, for posting the job. I would especially like to thank Commissioner Sue Vanatta for her help with tourism and guidance of her committee. Her oversight of the day-to-day operations has been excellent. She has taken control of this operation by communicating almost daily with our office. She spends time reviewing all contracts, requests and mail for the tourism department as well as sorts through large amounts of material in the office to make sure we make the best use of what we have and so on. She has truly gone above and beyond her role as chairman of the tourism committee.

I would also like to thank Sara Davenport, executive assistant in the mayor's office, who has done a fantastic job of managing the day-to-day operations of the tourism department. In the absence of a tourism director, Ms. Davenport has made it a priority to stay in contact with Commissioner Vanatta, the tourism committee chair, almost daily. Ms. Davenport has taken on the responsibility of keeping everyone informed of bills that need to be paid and contracts that need to be completed. Ms. Davenport has also designed ads for different tourism guides and made sure all phone calls have been returned. The job she does for the mayor's office is already a full-time responsibility and when there are extra duties that have to be addressed, it requires a great balancing act to continue both without failure. To accomplish this, Ms. Davenport has had to take work home and find other ways to stay on top of the situation. She has done a great job, and I wanted you all to know the amount of work she has put in behind the scenes. There is so much that comes into our office, and many people don't realize how much we deal with on a daily basis. I believe our office staff does a great job.

Again, I would like to thank everyone that has helped with this process.

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government, hiring, James E. Ward Ag Center, job, Larry Tomlinson, mayor, Randall Hutto, tourism, tourism director, Wilson County
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