, Corbin, KY

Local News

October 7, 2010

Cumberland Falls names park manager

Kentucky native Dave Jordan selected to fill position vacated in March

CORBIN — By Becky Manley Killian / Managing Editor

A Kentucky native has been selected as the new park manager at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

Dave Jordan, 57, originally of Fort Thomas, Ky., began working Monday and is currently in training at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, according to Gil Lawson, executive director of the office of communications in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.

Jordan fills the vacancy left by the departure of Lisa Davis, who left Cumberland Falls in March to take a job as resort manager at Barren River State Resort Park.

Jordan, who has worked for 35 years in the hospitality industry, is new to the park service. He said he began working in the industry with Richfield Hospitality Services before working at Callaway Gardens, a resort in Pine Mountain, Ga. Most recently, he said he worked for Highland Country Club in LaGrange, Ga.

Pointing to his experience at Callaway Gardens, Jordan said that resort has facilities similar to those at Cumberland Falls and he believes he has the necessary experience to manage a rugged park.

“I just wish I could get started,” Jordan said.

While his first visits to Cumberland were as a child with his parents, Jordan said he has visited the park a couple times as an adult.

After more recent visits to the park, Jordan said he would like to make some changes that would make the approach to Dupont Lodge more striking. He also wants to make it a priority to have activities available for children, like nighttime hikes and reptile demonstrations.

“I want to get the kids out there and let them see nature rather than playing Xbox,” Jordan said.

Jordan said he and his wife, Shani Jordan, who is also a Kentucky native, hoped to return to their home state as they neared retirement, which made the opportunity at Cumberland Falls ideal.

“The mountains of Kentucky. That’s where we wanted to be,” Jordan said.  

The Jordans, who have three adult children, will reside at the park.

While Jordan said his private sector experience has left him capable of finding ways to provide services with a slim budget, he acknowledged his biggest challenge would likely be learning the procedures of state government.

Gerry van der Meer, commissioner of the state’s department of parks, said Jordan was selected from among more than 45 candidates. He added that while the state encourages promotions from within its ranks, employing people from the private sector offers opportunities to introduce to the state’s parks the industry’s newest ideas about business concerns such as marketing and personnel training.

Following training and meetings with state officials, Jordan said he expects to be at Cumberland Falls sometime next week.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Jordan said about the transition. “I’ve got a lot on my plate but I’m very excited about the challenge.”

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