By Karen Middleton
Officials and friends from throughout the county and region gathered at the Athens-Limestone Tourism Association office Thursday afternoon to say farewell to former president Jeanette Dunnavant Jones and commend her for a job well done.
Jones officially retires Aug. 31. She was named tourism director for the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce in 2006. Under her tenure the Athens-Limestone Tourism Association became a separate entity from the chamber in 2011.
Her budget when she started seven years ago was $87,000 and she leaves with a budget of $167,000.
Now, her co-president since Feb. 1, Teresa Todd, is taking over the whole job. Jones will remain on as tourism secretary on the board.
Todd said Thursday she has been busy in recent weeks learning how best to perform the job.
“I just got back from Dahlonega, Ga., where I went to Marketing College,” said Todd. “In five days we had 17 different classes in such things as how to make the perfect brochure, economic development, customer service, and festivals and events among other things. It was packed full of education and a little fun also.”
Todd said she is anxious to put into work the tips she learned, beginning with working with the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation and the annual Grease Festival.
“A lot of the things they said just made sense,” she said.
Todd said since February she had been to three trade shows, two of them accompanied by Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives Director Sandy Thompson.
“I’ve been from Orange Beach, to Nashville to Chattanooga and then Georgia, and this Sunday we will be attending the Governor’s Conference, a three-day event at the Westin in Huntsville,” said Todd. “Jeanette will go with me because it’s all still a learning experience for me.”
Todd said her son, Evan Todd, 23, and a senior at UAHuntsville, will take over running her business AthensPlus, an online business magazine and directory, featuring photos of local events.
“Jeanette will be close by for assistance and I feel sure I’ll be giving her a call from time to time,” said Todd. “I look forward to working with the community on the proposed civic center.”