Carpenter named interim head of tourism board

December 21, 2010 12:14:00 PM

Ryan Poe - [email protected]


The Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau voted Monday to name Project Manager Nancy Carpenter its interim executive director. 


Carpenter, who will not receive a pay raise or better benefits, will take over Feb. 1 from Executive Director and CEO James Tsismanakis. Tsismanakis announced Dec. 13 that he had accepted a position as president and CEO of the DeKalb County, Ga., CVB. 


The Columbus CVB also voted Monday to appoint a search committee composed of the full board to look for Tsismanakis'' replacement. The board will consider estimates from search firms at its next meeting Jan. 24. 


Board President DeWitt Hicks said the board was "fortunate" to have Carpenter because of her tourism experience and qualifications. 


"I don''t think anyone that''s objective would conclude that she doesn''t have the experience," he said of her 20 years of local community service. 


Carpenter, who said she was "humbled" by the board''s choice, has spent 30 years in sales and marketing at banks. She became a CVB employee when her heritage foundation merged with another to form the CVB Cultural Heritage Foundation in 2008. 


"I think my marketing and tourism experience will bode well for Columbus and the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau," she said. 


The transition comes at an awkward time for the CVB, which is being reworked by the city and Lowndes County to meet state laws. 


Because of the turmoil, the board will likely hold off on appointing a replacement for Tsismanakis for what could be "several months," Hicks said. 


"No decision will be made until we know who will be here," Hicks said. 


A joint committee of city, Lowndes County and CVB officials agreed Friday that two members should be taken off the eight-member CVB board to meet state law. 


The committee''s recommendation to the city and county is that the Columbus Lowndes Development Link representative, David Sanders, and the city''s historic homes representative, Dixie Butler, be removed at least temporarily from office. 


However long she has, Carpenter said she will focus on making the most of her time in charge. 


"I''m the type, if you give me five hours or five months, I''m going to do my best in that job," she said. 


Tsismanakis will begin training Carpenter the first week of January after she returns from medical leave, he said. 


During the closed portion of the meeting, the board also discussed a legal issue about the parking lot around its new building and the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center on Third Avenue just south of Main Street.