By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
The search is over for Corbin’s Director of Tourism.
And, there will also be an Associate Director of Tourism for the city.
Saying it’s time for a “Tourism Team” concept, the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission hired Portia Flowers-Gosser and Margaret “Maggie” Kriebel for the top two positions Tuesday morning.
The announcement was made during a special session at Corbin City Hall, after the tourism board came out of executive session.
Flowers-Gosser — Corbin’s new Director of Tourism — was formerly Executive Director of the Russell County Tourism Commission and Chamber of Commerce. She also worked as Marketing Director for State Dock at Lake Cumberland near Jamestown, and previously worked at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park near Burkesville.
Flowers-Gosser will be paid $50,000 a year in her new job, which begins today. (Wednesday)
Kriebel — the new Associate Director of Tourism — comes from Prince William County, Virginia with what officials called “a solid background in tourism with ties to recreation.” She formerly served as Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Berea, and previously worked as a Program Coordinator for the City of Richmond’s Parks and Recreation Department.
For her position, Kriebel will make $45,000 a year. She’ll start next Monday.
Both are in the process of relocating to the city.
Originally, the tourism board planned to hire only one position, the Director of Tourism. But as candidates were being interviewed, board members realized a one-two punch would be needed for what Kyle Perkins called “the aggressive expectations of the board.”
“During the interview process, there was a realization that it could take more. There needed to be separate focuses, but unified at the same time,” said Perkins, a certified public accountant who is financial advisor for the tourism board.
Officials said the hiring of the Flowers-Gosser/Kriebel team was the result of a dream that was in the making for quite some time. They added the tourism board had been thorough in their management of funds, because they had that goal in mind of hiring a team.
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve worked at this for some five-to-six-years,” noted Board Chairman Sudhir Patel after the meeting.
In a news release Tuesday, the Tourism Commission called the tourism team’s hiring as a way “to lead the City of Corbin and the Tri-County area forward in the tourism industry.”
“This sounds exciting to me, because this is a major step in the right direction for tourism. We definitely need direction, and it’s a positive move forward,” added Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney, who was joined by City Manager Marlon Sams when the announcement was made.
To coincide with the two new hires, Corbin Tourism will be located in a new, temporary office on Cumberland Falls Highway (U.S. 25W), across from Forcht Bank and near the intersection of the Falls Highway and Scuffletown Road.
The location was cited because of its closeness to Exit 25 of I-75, and as a destination for people getting off the Interstate who’d like information about the Corbin area.
Perkins said the tourism board would enter into a lease agreement with First Corbin Realty at $600 per month.
“The new location is close to the Interstate, and it’s affordable,” he mentoned.
The new office would be open for business in the “very near future,” with an open house being held.
The tourism board has expressed a wish to acquire land to build a permanent location, or renovate an existing building inside the Corbin city limits.
Their current office is located at the corner of North Depot Street and East 1st Street, in a building they share with the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Corbin Economic Development Agency.
It was pointed out that Director of Tourism, Flowers-Gosser, would have overall supervision of the agency, while the Assistant Director, Kriebel, would be in charge of planning and carrying out downtown events.
It was noted one of her main focuses would be to work on what the tourism board called “our true railroad museum.”
Tourism officials also said they intend to work closely with Corbin city officials and department heads to “build upon events and ideas already in place.” As a result, both Flowers-Gosser and Kriebel were hired because of many duties and responsibilities they’ll have in their jobs.
Along with the overall agency supervision, Flowers-Gosser will work on strategic long-range planning, grant writing and seeking of grants, work on marketing and public relations campaigns, assist in the budget process, and report directly to the Tourism Board.
She’ll have direct connections to the Director of the Corbin Arena, Connie Hunt, Mayor McBurney and the Corbin City Commission, as well as to regional and state tourism agencies, and to hotel, motel and restaurants in the city.
The planning and carrying out of downtown events that Kriebel will be in charge of include parades, festivals and special events. She’ll work on Christmas lights, downtown decor and signs, as well as banners, facilities management and the Wayfarer program.
She’ll have direct connections to merchants on Main Street in Downtown Corbin; to Downtown Corbin’s Director, Andrew Salmons; the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. Along with working on the railroad museum, Kriebel will assist in tourism’s budget process.
The first regular tourism board meeting for both Kriebel and Flowers-Gosser is set for next Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 5:15 p.m., at the board’s meeting room on Depot Street.
Flowers-Gosser named director, Kriebel named associate director
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