Mar. 18—ANDERSON — After a search that attracted candidates from as far away as Seattle and Las Vegas, the Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau found its next leader close to home.
The bureau this week announced that Mark Thacker, who had been serving as an interim co-executive director following the resignation of Matt Rust, would take on the role on a permanent basis.
"Mark brings a working knowledge of travel and tourism within Madison County and surrounding communities," said bureau board chair Robin Gerhart. "His passion and drive for this county will lead us well through this current time and propel us into the future as travel, attractions and events begin to reopen and restart."
Thacker, a former marketing director at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, was chosen in a unanimous vote by the board after a search committee, in a three-stage process, narrowed the field of candidates from more than a dozen to six and then to three finalists.
"Mark's background is incredibly impressive in terms of his work ethic," said Skye Huff, who headed the search committee. "He's able to be cooperative, but he's also able to compete. We felt like for our tourism industry coming back out of COVID, we're going to need someone that's willing to compete on a regional if not a national stage for business in Madison County."
Thacker said a key priority in his early days on the job will be ramping up the bureau's social media presence in order to help local businesses take advantage of an expected influx of visitors to the area as COVID restrictions continue to ease.
"As things continue to loosen up, we want to be able to walk fully with them instead of falling behind as things continue to open," he said.
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