By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
After losing its tourism director in December, Front Royal has appointed Timothy Smith of Mount Jackson as the Visitor Center Coordinator.
Smith was chosen out of 87 applicants, according to Town Manager Steve Burke.
"We encourage hiring Front Royal and Warren County residents, but due to [Smith's] experience and qualifications, we felt that his outside residency would be offset by the benefits he will bring to the town," Burke said.
Smith worked as Chief Ranger with Virginia State Parks for eight and a half years, and before that worked at several national parks.
While serving as Chief Ranger, Smith managed a visitor center and oversaw the implementation of an environmental education program. He also managed volunteer recruitment, special events planning and resale merchandise.
"[Smith] will primarily focus on the [visitors] center, but he will also work with local businesses in trying to fulfill their needs and encourage visitors to go to those businesses," Burke said.
The new position was developed along with a marketing coordinator position as part of the town's effort to promote tourism on several levels.
However, once Smith starts in the position, town officials will consult him on how he feels about Front Royal's marketing program and if it should change, Burke said. If Smith wants to take on those efforts as well, then the separate position might not be necessary to fill.
Burke expects Smith to work with the local Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Front Royal, and the county to expand on the town's recent designation as an Appalachian Trail community.
"He'll be responsible for outreach to citizens, businesses and civic organizations," Burke said.
Smith, a West Virginia University graduate who majored in Recreation and Park Management, lives on a five and half acre farm with his wife of 12 years, Stacey.
He will take over operations at the Visitor Center on May 21.