The Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired Jennifer Kirchner as its next executive director.
Kirchner, a native of Philadelphia, had worked since last year as the assistant director of residential life at Centre College, where her husband, Daniel, was hired in 2009 as a philosophy professor. She is scheduled to start her new job April 9.
“Danville has been full of pleasant surprises for me,” Kirchner said in a news release. “I really didn’t know what to expect moving here from the East Coast, and now I cannot imagine my home being anywhere else. Being part of the energy and excitement of growing Danville, promoting the county’s progress forward and the preservation of (its) rich past is a challenge and opportunity. I am blessed to be part of it.”
Kirchner has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Indiana, Bloomington, where she was a research scientist focused on neurodegenerative diseases and cancer therapeutics.
After moving to Danville, she opted to stay at home with her children to adjust to the area before taking the job at Centre, where she supervised resident assistants and organized a number of events on campus. Her volunteer work since coming to Danville includes involvement with the Great American Brass Band Festival and the local Court Appointed Special Advocates group.
The search for a new director at the Convention and Visitors Bureau began after the February resignation of previous CVB director Adam Johnson, who left to manage the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Charlie Cox, who as been acting CVB director since Johnson’s departure along with maintaining duties as communications coordinator for the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership, said the job drew about 36 applicants from across the state. The position was advertised among tourism publications and organizations, as well as newspapers throughout the state.
In the news release, Chris Kubale, vice-chairwoman of the CVB board of directors and head of the search committee, said Kirchner was chosen from an impressive group of candidates. “She will bring vision and important organizational abilities to the positions, as well as warmth, enthusiasm and a positive approach to advancing the CVB’s mission,” Kubale said.
In an e-mail, Kirchner said she has much to learn and will spend the foreseeable future absorbing as much information as possible from business owners, residents and others in tourism throughout the region. Despite her relative newness in the community, though, she already has a number of ideas she wants to explore for how to enhance and expand visitors’ experience in the county.
Kirchner said she will look at ways to advance the arts community, including the possibility of offering packages that will include dining and a stay at a local hotel. Strengthening the relationship between the county and Centre in cooperating on events will be another goal.
Kirchner also would like to pursue the long-talked-about idea of a “small and charming” hotel downtown. While she wants to draw people in for events such as regional athletic competitions, Kirchner said offering a range of opportunities for people to sample culture is a trend that could fit well with what the county has to offer.
“Today I think we are living in an ‘experience economy’ where people want to come and eat local food, shop on Main Street, see a show or visit a gallery, and get a taste of regional flavor,” Kirchner wrote. “Perhaps with regard to agritourism, visitors could tour farms in the area and visit historical sites that are both educational and beautiful.”
Cox will continue to serve as interim executive director until Kirchner starts.
Kirchner, her husband, and their two sons, Jacob and Zachary, live in Danville.