By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Neal McCoy was elected Monday as the new executive director of the Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau, effective July 1.
McCoy, the current deputy director, will take over from Linda Johnson, who will retire June 30.
“He’s got big shoes to fill, but we feel like he’s the one to take on the challenge,” said board member Jeff Snyder, who chaired the search committee. “Neal has got the footings to go a long way. He’s an industry person. We need someone who can stand tall and take us to the next level.”
The board selected McCoy unanimously.
Snyder said the city’s personnel department received applications from across the country. The committee reviewed several resumes, and Snyder said McCoy stood out for his job performance and his commitment to Tupelo and tourism.
The search started in April when Johnson, 62, formally announced her retirement. She has led the city’s tourism efforts for the past 131/2 years.
“I still have 58 more days – not that I’m counting,” she joked with board members.
In November 2009, Johnson internally promoted McCoy to deputy director. He had been the CVB’s director of sports development since May 2004. Before then, he work at Ridgeland Recreation and Parks Department, Jackson Parks and Recreation Department and Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department.
“I think he will do an excellent job,” Johnson said. “I’m extremely excited that the bureau could look in-house and find a staff member who had the desire to do it and the qualifications. It makes me very proud of the staff.”
McCoy, who currently works in an office with “administrative assistant” written on the door, said he plans to spend the next few weeks gearing up for the transition.
“We would all like to think we know what Ms. Johnson does on a daily basis, but until I’ve walked a mile in her shoes, I don’t.”
He’s also anticipating another change next week, when he and his wife, Holly, expect their third child – and first daughter – to enter the world.
“Holly and I can never do anything simple,” he said, smiling. “It’s an exciting time.”
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.