Director of Downtown Development, Tourism and Historic Preservation
What are your main responsibilities?
I serve as the director of three of Acworth’s volunteer boards and commissions. The nine-member Acworth Downtown Development Authority is an important tool the city uses in the redevelopment of downtown, and the board plays an integral role in creating a vibrant, diverse and relevant downtown. The seven-member Acworth Tourism Bureau Authority’s primary purpose is to promote tourism and market the city of Acworth to visitors. The five-member Historic Preservation Commission is charged with initiating local historic designations, the design review process for historic buildings and landmarks, public education and awareness, securing preservation-related grant funding, and preservation planning and research.
When were you hired, and what is your background?
I started with the city in the Parks, Recreation and Community Resource Department in 2007 and served in various capacities. In 2013, I was named director of Downtown Development while still serving as an assistant director in the Parks, Recreation and Community Resource Department. In August 2021, I began serving in my current capacity. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Kennesaw State University and a Bachelor of Science in sport management from Kennesaw State.
What has been the biggest surprise to you about your job?
As I continue to talk to professionals in downtown development and tourism from across the state, I’ve been pleased, but not necessarily surprised, at the reputation we have built over the past decade and how Acworth is perceived now statewide.
What do you like most about your job?
Working in a city where the elected officials, volunteers and staff all love their community and put aside personal agendas to do what is best for the residents and businesses.
What sets Acworth apart from other cities?
The Acworth community cares and welcomes everyone. We have exceptional people in leadership, whether it is in our business community, our churches, our civic organizations, our schools or city government, working together to make Acworth better. Our brand, “You’re welcome in Acworth,” rings true.
What kinds of growth/changes have you seen in Acworth during your time with the city?
The mayor and council have stayed true to their vision and have been intentional in building quality of life and encouraging quality growth, whether it is the addition of greenspace or expansion of our trail system or public investment in infrastructure to encourage businesses to come to the city. Acworth has grown, and will continue to grow, while remaining true to who we are as a community and maintaining the charm and small-town feel.
What can residents expect to see happening in Acworth in the future?
As I mentioned, the elected leaders will continue to encourage quality development throughout the city and continue to focus on development and revitalization in the downtown. One project that should start to go vertical in the next few weeks is the Heritage at Acworth. This project will be the first true mixed-use development in our downtown and will consist of 29 residential units and five commercial spaces. The Heritage is located in the Parkside district, at the corner of Lemon Street and Southside Drive. This spring, Tourism will be working with Fenning Marketing Group to produce our first tourism video, which will be a great tool for marketing the city as we move forward. From a historic preservation standpoint, the immediate focus is identifying and protecting our historic buildings throughout the city. Most recently, we have been working on designating the Acworth Christian Church on Northside Drive as a local historic landmark. This designation will protect the exterior of the building for generations to come.
What are your goals, both personally and professionally?
Professionally, I want to continue to learn and grow in my new role, as well as continue developing my leadership style.