|Thu, Apr 17, 2014 12:02 AM
September 11, 2013 | 08:28 AM
After nearly 11 years as executive director of the Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jim Epperson will step away from the position to take the executive director post at the Sunny Side of Louisville, the Clark and Floyd counties Convention and Tourism Bureau.
Epperson, who grew up in New Albany, has been with the HCCVB every step of the way for the past decade-plus when the bureau helped create events such as Bluegrass on the Square and Cockadoodle Days (now SummerFest) and played a role in the functionality and growth of the Battle of Corydon re-enactment events. The CVB also partnered with farmers who were interested in agriculture tourism or business, such as Deere Farms near Lanesville.
The main goal and effort of the CVB, however, is to market the area's events and businesses to those outside of Harrison County.
Jim Epperson, who will leave his position as Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director at the end of the month, works with Jeremy Yackle, the CVB's assistant executive director, Friday afternoon at their offices in downtown Corydon. Photo by Ross Schulz (click for larger version)
"Hardly anyone in Harrison County sees it," Epperson said. "If they do, we're doing something wrong."
With the riverboat era, the CVB saw a significant increase in funding and much of the CVB's plan centered around using the budget to market the county the best it could. Epperson, who was a major component of that effort, said that the goal of the CVB is to make Harrison County a destination spot. He spent time with elected officials and community members to come up with a strategic plan.
"It has guided a lot of what we've done," Epperson said.
Epperson said he hopes the conference center project continues to move forward for the community. The proposed plan included a hotel and conference center on the old Keller Manufacturing Co. near downtown Corydon. It has been presented to county officials but has not seen any forward momentum for some time.
Epperson will begin his new venture Oct. 1.
It will be an entirely new workload for Epperson, who will be responsible for two counties, instead of one.
"It's worked really well for them," he said of the joint venture with Clark and Floyd counties.
Epperson said Sunny Side of Louisville actually handled Harrison County's marketing before the Harrison County CVB was created. He will succeed Sunny Side executive director Jim Keith.
Epperson doesn't plan to move from his Corydon home that he shares with his wife of 25 years, Sandy, in the immediate future, with their youngest daughter only a freshman at Corydon Central High School (their oldest daughter is a student at Bellarmine University in Louisville). So, the commute to the Sunny Side office near the Kennedy bridge of Interstate 65 in Jeffersonville could be quite the headache, especially with the new bridge construction.
"I'll be headed into the belly of the beast," Epperson said of the bridge construction.
The Sunny Side office building is actually in the old bridge toll booth building.
Epperson will continue working at the Harrison County CVB until Sept. 27, at which time Jeremy Yackle, who has been the assistant director since 2007, will be promoted to the position on an interim basis, according to tourism commission board president Michael Wiseman.