Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and Tug Valley CVB Executive Director Wes Wilson announced this week that he is resigning from both positions.
His resignation becomes effective Dec. 20.
Wilson said there were various reasons behind his decision, but he specifically believed that he had arrived at a point where he was no longer able to devote the kind of time and energy he thinks are required for the positions.
“The big why behind my decision to resign is that we’ve grown so much, so successfully, in the last year and a half that it’s now truly a two-person job,” he said Wednesday in an interview with the Messenger. “I knew what I was taking on when I accepted the position and I’m truly glad I did, but as we grow and change for the better so do the responsibilities and the time involved with it. To do it successfully is impossible, especially for someone like me who feels like he has to go 100 percent and is just not able to do that. It’s just the nature of the two-entity job.”
Wilson, who took over the executive director’s job from Natalie Taylor in Aug. 2018, said he made the decision to formally tender his resignation Nov. 1 during a meeting with both TVCC President Chris Dotson and TVCVB president and Williamson Mayor Charlie Hatfield.
“Obviously they were a little disappointed, but they understood the reasoning behind my decision,” he said. “We’ve since met with both boards and informed them as well.”
Wilson said another factor that played into his decision was the fact that, while admittedly the situation has improved significantly during his time in the job, there remains an unwillingness of many in the Tug Valley area to work as one unit in order to successfully achieve the same goal.
“I’ve said this many, many times because it is so true. You’ve got to get people pulling on the rope in the same direction,” he said. “And while I think there’s no question we’re at a much better place on that than we were, it’s still extremely frustrating that some folks remain unwilling to work together for the betterment of everyone.”
Wilson said he feels there have been many advancements made at both the Chamber and CVB in the near 18 months he has been executive director, with perhaps the three most noteworthy having been in the membership growth of the TVCC, the TVCVB’s expansion of major, first-time events like Dirt Days, and with the long-overdue successful promotion and development of the Hatfield McCoy Trail System in Williamson.
“When we started there were around 80 Chamber members and we’re now up to 120 members, which is a number we haven’t had in well over 10 years,” he said. “We’ve also concentrated on adding more events and promoting the Trail System in Williamson, and I think we’ve had great success both those areas. So we’re moving in the right direction and I’m really confident that the person who replaces me will continue that effort.”
Although she admits Wilson’s commitment and dedication to promoting the Tug Valley area will be greatly missed, like Wilson, Dotson says she is sure the strides that have been made during his tenure will continue to be made as the Chamber and CVB move forward.
“As a team, we have grown our Chamber significantly over the past few months and I am certain this is not the end of Wes’s involvement in our town,” she said. “We will miss his energy and devotion to promoting our town as our executive director, but we do wish him all the best … he’s a talented individual and I’m certain he has lots of great things ahead of him.”
Hatfield said Wilson has “superbly served” in the job and that he personally takes a great deal of pride in having played a large part in convincing him to assume it 18 months ago.
“The dual role of serving two separate entities simultaneously is stressful and certainly demanding,” Hatfield said. “But he excelled in the position and his absence will truly be missed. His passion and successes have set the bar for the type of leadership and ingenuity which we need to aspire, and which we should make our standard if our community is to lead in having tourism be the economic driver we demand.”
Dotson said the search for Wilson’s replacement has begun and that the position will likely be posted next week.