After conducting a months-long search, the Noble County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has found its new executive director. Patrick Hess, the owner of a local marketing agency, has been hired to promote the county’s tourism assets under the CVB’s brand “Visit Noble County” and to support local tourism partners.
Gary Gatman, CVB board president, led the search to find the right candidate to fill the vacancy left in early March 2021 when former director Emily Schneider resigned to pursue other opportunities.
“COVID obviously affected everything in the world economy including severely hindering the tourism industry in 2020,” explained Gatman. “We experienced a decline in overall visitors last year, but 2021 has increasingly shown signs of a return to pre-Covid activity. The search for a new director included several solid candidates. We chose (Hess) out of a belief that his strong business background and marketing expertise would provide the leadership we need to restore momentum after the COVID crisis.”Gatman also praised the contributions of Tara Streb who served as the CVB’s interim director while the board searched for a permanent replacement for Schneider. Streb will continue to support the bureau in her role as an administrative assistant for the Noble County Economic Development Corporation. The two organizations share an office in Albion and Streb provides administrative support to both entities.
Noble County has a rich base of natural assets including parks and lakes, and many unique events each year that draw tens of thousands of visitors from all around the country.
Hess brings over 30 years of experience in domestic and international marketing including digital and offline marketing to reach people via social media, texting, and web-based promotions.
“I’ve invested many years in our community with my own business and by volunteering on different governmental committees and non-profit boards,” commented Hess. “Through that time, I’ve witnessed the strong potential we have to help others enjoy their time coming to our county. I am truly excited to help promote our many assets in cooperation with the dedicated people who help make them a truly valuable experience for local and regional visitors each year.”
With the recent announcement of a grant awarded to expand the trail system crossing parts of Noble County and the return of group gatherings post-COVID, Hess’ appointment will help set the stage for a busy tourism season during the second half of 2021.