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Shenandoah County tourism leader leaving

By Sally Voth

After two years as director of tourism and marketing for Shenandoah County, Natalie Wills is ready to move on.

The Shenandoah County native is resigning May 10 to take a job with a private company in Winchester, she said in a Tuesday phone interview. She declined to name the firm.

"I'm going to still be doing marketing," Wills said. "I've been in tourism for 17 years, and I'm going to be doing more private business marketing."

She is also part way through a master's degree program in marketing, "and I think this will provide a new opportunity for me to use those classes I'm taking."

Wills was hired in January 2011, taking over from Susie Hill, who had retired six months earlier. Hill had been responsible for both tourism and economic development for the county.

While Wills has family in Shenandoah County, she lives in Winchester.

"I really enjoyed being here," she said. "All the colleagues here are just awesome people. It's just time for a change for me, for a new challenge.

"It's going to be fun to go to an event and go as a tourist."

Wills cited the O Shenandoah County Artisan Trail, a "first-ever comprehensive visitor guide" and the county's social media presence as some of her on-the-job accomplishments.

In a news release, acting County Administrator Mary Beth Price also praised Wills' creation of promotional videos, redesign of the tourism and economic development websites and work on the annual Route 11 Yard Crawl.

The release states tourism brings in more than $175 million in the county every year and provides more than 1,500 jobs.

In a Tuesday phone interview, Price said she's not sure whether the position will be refilled.

"I haven't even discussed it with the Board [of Supervisors] yet," she said. "We hate to see her go. She's done a wonderful job for us."

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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