Visit Corvallis, the tourism bureau that serves Corvallis and Benton County, is looking for new leadership.
Mary Pat Parker has resigned as executive director, a position she held since 2012. Board chair Jennifer Humcke, a finance officer with Oregon State Credit Union, has taken over as interim executive director while a search for a successor takes place.
“The board appreciates her years of service and wishes her the best in her future endeavors,” Humcke said of Parker, who could not be reached for comment.
Humcke said there was no timeline for filling the post, noting that “a search of this nature can take up to nine months, but we hope to have it filled sooner. (By) summer would be great given that’s when the visitor center is very busy yet after the city contract is renewed.”
Because Visit Corvallis’ budget consists largely of transient occupancy tax funds collected by the city, the bureau works under a contract with the city and must submit annual reports to the City Council. City funds paid for $544,000 of the agency's $614,000 budget during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to the most recent annual report.
The current contract expires June 30, and Humcke said that she thinks Visit Corvallis, when it meets with the council, needs to do an effective job of making the case for its purpose and role in the community.
Humcke added that many in the community have trouble differentiating between Visit Corvallis and other groups such as the Downtown Corvallis Association, the Community Independent Business Alliance or the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce.
While the search for Parker’s successor is ongoing, Humcke said that “in the meantime, Visit Corvallis has a dedicated and seasoned staff that will ensure uninterrupted operations and service to our members and visitors alike.”
Key initiatives this spring include a marketing campaign, a website redesign and a new visitor’s guide. The marketing campaign, Humcke said, will roll out throughout the year, while the website redesign is “still several weeks off.” The new visitors guide goes to print in mid-April.