The Sampson County Convention and Visitors Bureau has begun the search for its next director, but has received assurances from retiring director Vickie Crane that she will remain in place on a part-time basis to ensure a smooth transition.
Over the past five years, Crane has been at the heart of many of Clinton and Sampson County’s hallmark events, working to market and promote the county, its assets and industry partners to attract business and leisure travelers. That was the job, and one she enjoyed thoroughly.
A native of Sampson, Crane joined the Sampson CVB in September 2010 and quickly immersed herself in everything Clinton and Sampson, to include a variety of large events in the downtown and surrounding area.
“The highlight of this job has been the people I have come to know and work with over the past five years through various committees and community activities,” Crane said when reached Thursday. “Some will be friends for life and that is truly special. Although I was born and raised here, this job has also allowed me to learn so much more about this great County of Sampson.”
While she is stepping away, Crane will still live here and still be very much involved in the community.
“I just reached a point where I wanted to hang it up and do some things I want to do, including travel,” said Crane, who said a couple trips are already planned. Just this week, Crane and Ray Jordan, chairman of the CVB board and executive director of the Agri-Exposition Center, talked about Crane staying on through the transition. Crane, whose last day was going to be Monday, agreed.
“They’re recruiting now. They’ve just started that process,” she noted. “I’ll work a couple days a week to fill the void. I’ll still be in and out for awhile until they get somebody.”
The CVB office, located inside the Agri-Exposition Center adjacent to the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce and Jordan’s Expo offices, will not go unattended in the interim.
“I’ll still be on board, just not in the office full-time,” Crane said. “Ray Jordan serves as chairman of the CVB board and we have the good fortune of his office and the CVB being close together.”
The City of Clinton Main Street Organization nominated as the City of Clinton Main Street Champion for 2012, with local officials lauding her commitment to all things Clinton.
“Vickie has been one of the city’s most active volunteers in the Clinton Main Street Program,” Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said then. “From helping organize Christmas in the City events to staffing the Alive After Five concert series, she is one of the first to arrive and last to leave.”
Crane served as program director for the Arts Council of Topeka, Kan., and exhibition manager for the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas prior to her return to Sampson five years ago. Since then, she has been actively involved as a committee member for the Sampson Arts Council, Alive After Five Summer Concert Series, Christmas in the City and the annual Court Square Street Fair and Barbecue Cook-off, as well as other organizations and events.
“Vickie is always willing to help when called upon and has a positive attitude that inspires those around her,” Rose stated. “All of these qualities make her an asset to the Clinton Main Street Program.”
Additionally, Crane has helped spearhead efforts to market Sampson through brochures, a barn quilt project and other events — including 2014’s Great Race, a nine-day caravan of classic cars that stretched from Maine to Florida, passing through Sampson on the way — that have assisted locally. The CVB also has given an annual donation to the City of Clinton and the History Museum from proceeds raised at Christmas in the City.
While she may soon be stepping away from
For more information on the CVB, go to www.visitsampsonnc.com or call 910-592-2557.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.