Mark Van Der Weele, President of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau spent some time with WTCA to discuss big changes in operations.
The first of the year the board did a restructuring doing away with the executive director’s position and creating two co-equal positions: operations and marketing. The operations position oversees finance, and the marketing director will work on attracting visitors.
Van Der Weele said, “The restructuring was done to create a co-equal environment to help move the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau in the right direction for future growth in Marshall County.”
When asked if the restructuring had an impact on pay it was confirmed that the former Executive Director was given a pay cut while the assistant was given an increase to make both positions equal.
Cori Humes has been the Executive Director of Tourism in Marshall County since January 2014. With the restructuring changes and other issues, Humes turned in her resignation and accepted the position of Executive Director of Visit Kosciusko County. She begins her new job April 4th.
Van Der Weele said Jessica Beatty, the Operations Director is running the day-to-day operation until the Marketing Director’s position can be filled. The Tourism Board of Directors anticipates opening up the hiring process next month.
WTCA asked about rumors that Humes was given the ultimatum to get things done or face termination. Van Der Weele said, “She is done, and it is hard to talk about something but there was issues at times with timelines not being met.” He went on to say, “The board was taking an aggressive approach to fix issues.
When asked if there was any truth to the rumors that Humes was given an ultimatum to get things moving on events or get out Van Der Weele said, “No that is not true. Cori was never given any ultimatums.”
When asked if the county could expect or anticipate the Tourism office working on new events in 2022 with implementation in 2023 it was commented that the County Tourism Office doesn’t actually run any events. They have expanded their marketing and expanded the sponsorship program for 2022. Van Der Weele said, “We have worked on new advertising outside of our region. Our duty and goal is to attract tourism to the county.”
The County Tourism office is funded 100% through the innkeeper’s tax which is taxed on hotel stays. The more stays the more revenue to go back to the event and the more marketing to attract visitors.
When asked about the Tourism hosting the Touring BBQ Competition Van Der Weele it hasn’t been done since 2015. He said, “Mike Wolfington started the BBQ but once he left it appears Cori lacked the ability to keep it going.”
WTCA asked who was on the Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors Van Der Weele said he was appointed by the Argos Town Board and Kim Berger was appointed by the Bourbon Town Board. Linda Rippy is a member appointed by the County Commissioners while Katey Wehymer is appointed by the Culver Chamber of Commerce and Debra Sahlohoff is appointed by the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. Teresa Welborn is appointed by the Mayor of Plymouth. There is a seventh member that is appointed by the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, but they have not made a new appointment yet.