City of Lufkin hires Tara Watson-Watkins as LCVB director

Tara Watson (LCVB provided photo)
Tara Watson (LCVB provided photo)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The City of Lufkin has appointed Tara Watson-Watkins, former Woodland Heights Medical Center marketing director and Miss Texas USA 2000 as the new executive director for the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Watson, a graduate of Texas Christian University and 1996 graduate of Lufkin High School begins her new position on January 4.

The following is a news release from the city:

The Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau has received one thing on its Christmas wish list – a director for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tara Watson-Watkins, former Miss Texas and a hospital public relations and marketing specialist, will become the LCVB's first Executive Director. The LCVB took over the administration of the Hotel Occupancy Tax monies from the Chamber of Commerce earlier this year.  At that point, the LCVB launched a national search for a director. 37 candidates applied for the position, and the Lufkin native made the cut from seven applicants, to three, to one.

In making the announcement on Tuesday, City Manager Paul Parker said, "No one could match Tara's enthusiasm or passion for Lufkin and Angelina County. She knows and loves this community."  Search and Selection Committee Chair Greg Shrader of the Lufkin Daily News adds, "Tara 'gets it'. She understands what Lufkin has to offer and is ready to tell the world about it. She communicates, networks and sells well and those traits are key if you're going to be successful in the tourism industry."

Shrader is one of the nine members of the LCVB Board appointed by the City Council. The members serve staggered two year terms and include one City Council Member, Robert Shankle. The Board is charged with working with its Executive Director to allocate tax monies that will draw visitors to Lufkin. Watson-Watkins and the Board will be responsible for promoting special events, advertising Lufkin's attributes and attractions and positioning Lufkin as a destination for conventions and meetings. Up until this year, the Chamber of Commerce received the bulk of the HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) monies and directed Lufkin's tourism efforts. The new CVB will be housed at the Chamber office but is an independent entity.

In accepting the position, Watson-Watkins said, "I am honored to have been chosen to head the CVB.  It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and Lufkin has been my village.  It is my joy to promote my hometown and share with visitors what Lufkin and the surrounding areas have to offer.  I can't wait to bring new and exciting events to Lufkin as well as tell the rest of the world what we already know.  Lufkin is a treasure!"  Watson-Watkins officially starts on January 4, 2010.