The Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, also known as Visit Gahanna, has a new director.

Lori Kappes, 45, began her new role on Jan. 20, after working for the Zanesville-Muskingum County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years.

Kappes succeeds Laurie Jadwin, who was elected Gahanna mayor Nov. 5, 2019, and took office on Jan. 2.

"Mayor Jadwin left some big shoes to fill, with the ambitious vision she had for Visit Gahanna, and I look forward to advancing the path she forged," Kappes said. "Gahanna is a fantastic tourist destination, and I am excited to start building opportunities to keep getting that message out."

Under Jadwin's leadership, the Visit Gahanna team was recognized with many statewide tourism marketing awards for its work to promote Gahanna and local businesses.

"It was an honor to lead the incredible Visit Gahanna team and shine a spotlight on all the unique restaurants, shops and businesses that make Gahanna the amazing community it is," Jadwin said. "I look forward to a great partnership with Lori and the Visit Gahanna team."

Jadwin said a strong correlation exists between tourism marketing and economic development, and she's looking forward to partnering with Kappes to drive even better economic results for Gahanna.

"This is a win-win situation for us -- though we are sad to see Laurie Jadwin go, we are excited to partner with her and benefit from her leadership in the highest office in Gahanna -- and we are thrilled to welcome Lori Kappes as executive director of Visit Gahanna," said Bobbie Burba, Visit Gahanna board president.

Kappes was hired in 1999 as marketing and communications specialist at the Zanesville-Muskingum Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. She advanced to the position of marketing and group-sales manager in 2001.

In that role, she worked to spread the word about that area of the state: researching, evaluating and setting into motion marketing strategies to advance tourism and new business; planning and overseeing budgets and action plans; representing Muskingum County throughout the United States for networking, educating and promoting the area as a destination for travel; and designing press releases.

Kappes is a 1998 graduate of Ohio University.

She is vice president of Ohio's Appalachian County, secretary/treasurer of Ohio Has It!, a Foodworks Alliance Board representative, and member of the Y Bridge Arts Festival Marketing Committee.

She lives near Zanesville with her two daughters but said she has plans to move closer to Gahanna.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla