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Paula Vann Takes the Helm of Columbia County's TDC: A new era begins

Posted November 20, 2014  08:10 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – A hands-on executive with an MBA and a fresh face took the helm of Columbia County's Tourist Development Council Wednesday morning. Paula Vann, whose appointment by the County 5 was not without controversy, was steady as she attended her first TDC meeting. Without a quorum and without any elected board members present, there wasn't much the TDC board or Director Vann could do, besides listen and plan for the future.

Columbia County TDC's Marketing Director, Lori Regan, began yesterday's meeting with a PowerPoint presentation which highlighted the recent marketing developments of the TDC. She shared the increased traffic stats of the TDC's Facebook presence and explained the TDC's two marketing websites, SuwanneeValley.org and SpringsRUs.

Ms. Regan told the group that the contract with the TDC's new web design team, ITI Marketing, is expected to be approved by the County Commission at Thursday's meeting. "The redesign of the SpringsRUs web site is expected to take 60 days," she said.

Last month Ms. Regan told the Observer, "ITI was a clear winner in the competition for the TDC's web redesign. They specialize in tourism and mobile apps. They do everything in-house. They will be able to meet changing marketing conditions at the Columbia County TDC without any built in delay."

Marketing Director Regan and Director Vann listen to the concerns of (left to right) Jack Muenchen, Mike Collins, and Brian Bickel.

Other issues before the TDC were reported by Jack Muenchen, who told the attendees that some of the restrooms at the Southside Sports Complex need to be repaired.

TDC member Mike Collins was concerned about the Southside Sports Complex losing tournaments to the Newberry Sports Complex. He said that once you lose them, "It's really hard to get them back."

It was pointed out that one of Director Vann's first jobs is to see that a TDC Sports Marketing Director is hired.

Jessica Langley, president of Lake City Columbia County Youth Baseball, attended her first meeting and filled in the TDC on the numerous youth baseball activities planned for the Sports Complex.

Director Vann pulls up the TDC analytics.

Post Meeting With Director Vann

Director Vann, as well as Marketing Director Lori Regan and former Marketing Director, Paulette Lord, met with the Observer for a short while after the TDC meeting adjourned to discuss future issues of the TDC and some of the marketing issues facing it.

Ms. Vann said that she was looking forward to the redesign of the SpringsRUs website and mentioned as she pulled up the site analytics, "I'm a numbers person. These numbers are important to me."

The Columbia County TDC has two partners, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties, which promote the region through SpringsRUs.

Looking at the old numbers, Ms. Vann explained why she is
looking forward to the new TDC website.

Former TDC and SpringsRUs Marketing Director, Paulette Lord added, “With the majority of hotel rooms in Columbia County and the events going on in Suwannee and Hamilton Counties, our joint marketing is a good fit for all three counties.”

Ms. Regan added, “For the folks that have downtime during the tournaments at the Sports Complex, we will be promoting the day events that are going on at all of the state parks. We want folks to know what’s going on, not just drive to the parks.”

Ms. Vann will also be looking into opening up the lines of communication with the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council which promotes the region through its Natural North Florida website.

Ms. Vann concluded, "Lori and Paulette have done an excellent job in keeping the TDC moving forward. I'm not here to recreate the wheel. I have a solid foundation on which to build."

"My vision is not complicated. I just want people to come here and discover Columbia County along with the region covered by our primary partners."

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