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CVB board hopes to name new director soon

Posted: September 23, 2012 - 12:06am
Chamber president Tammy Shepherd (left) and programs director Lauren Smith are now working out of their new offices in the old Health Department building near the government center. The Convention and Visitors Bureau will also share space in the building with the chamber.  Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Chamber president Tammy Shepherd (left) and programs director Lauren Smith are now working out of their new offices in the old Health Department building near the government center. The Convention and Visitors Bureau will also share space in the building with the chamber.

The recently reconstituted board of directors for the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau might hire a new executive director at a Wednesday meeting.

The board began advertising for Beda Johnson’s replacement in August and had seven resumes to consider after the Sept. 7 application deadline, said board Chair Rick Crawford.

Johnson, who resigned in October, is now the Tourism Outreach Division director for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“I’m delighted,” Johnson said of her new job. “It’s been a whirlwind.

Now, Johnson is charged with promoting the entire state, as she once did for the county, while temporarily working at the Welcome Center on Interstate 20 and getting a new perspective on what travelers are looking for.

Now promoting attractions and events statewide, Johnson said she still has a soft spot for the county.

“Columbia County is never far from my mind.”

Crawford said an executive committee reviewed the applications and is expected to make a recommendation to the full board at the meeting.

The 12-member CVB board disbanded in April following complaints the group was unwieldy. Their last act was to change the bylaws to decrease the size to seven members appointed by county commissioners.

The current board is made up of banker Crawford, hoteliers Surinderjit Singh and Ken Shah, real estate agent Laurie Vanover, restaurateur Aubrey Nesbitt, retiree Chris Noah and journalist Jennifer Miller.

In July Shelley Clark, the CVB’s associate director of sales and marketing, resigned.

Board members have agreed to allow the new director to hire the staff, Crawford said.

The CVB purchased furniture for the new location in the former Columbia County Health Department building at 1000 Business Blvd. next to the Evans Government Center. The CVB now shares space with the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and the Development Authority.

“What it provides is one-stop shopping for business and tourism, economic development, the business community and visitors,” chamber President/CEO Tammy Shepherd said. “Our missions, we complement each other.”

The CVB board meets at 4 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of the month in the conference room in the new building.

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