CLEARFIELD – With a new tourism season upon us, the Clearfield County Recreation & Tourism Authority, also known as Visit Clearfield County (VCC), is kicking things off with a new director.
Josiah Jones, a native of Morrisdale, has been the new CCRTA director for about seven weeks. Jones said he worked in marketing in the mental health profession for 14 years.
In an interview, Jones said he started “at the very bottom,” before moving into a marketing position as a public relations representative for Cen-Clear Child Services. Jones said he held that position for about four years.
“There was nowhere else to move up to,” Jones said. “I’m an ambitious person and I want to keep moving up.”
Jones said he next took a position as director of public relations at Community Guidance Center in Clearfield, where he served for two years, but again, Jones found himself with nowhere to go.
“I enjoyed the work,” Jones said. “I basically got to be in charge of the public relations department. I had the opportunity to expand the marketing and advertising reach. I had a good budget, but I focused on spending the budget wisely.”
Jones again felt he had nowhere to go, but also, like many in the mental health profession, he felt as if he were becoming “burnt out.”
“They tell you (that) you can only work as hard as the families, but it’s hard to do. You still want to work hard,” he said. “It was just time for something else.”
Then in December, Jones saw an advertisement for the CCRTA director’s position and applied.
“I was excited for the opportunity because I’m getting to market the county I live in,” he said. Jones said he “pushed hard” for the position. He spoke to the county commissioners and the other members of the CCRTA board.
Jones said the past seven weeks have been hard, but he is happy with how things have been progressing.
“It’s been a good transition period,” he said. “Sue (Swales-Vitullo, assistant director) is a wealth of knowledge about how things have been done. We’ve been going in a good direction. We have a good team.”
Jones said some of the goals he has for tourism in the county is to see solid information showing how the marketing and advertising has been working in areas outside the county.
He said he has been working to find a research company to come in and process the data.
“It’s an outside agency that would take a look at the numbers about who’s staying in the county, where they’re from, how long they’re staying and information like that.
“Then if we see people are coming from areas that we’ve been marketing to, we know it’s working,” Jones said.
He said he has also been working closer with the hotel managers and general managers to come up with better ways to market the area. Jones said his staff has been working to update the annual travel guide and brochures.
“The major goal is to become a positive entity within the community. We want to be approachable and to allow people to really explore Clearfield County,” Jones said.
He said he wants to continue meeting with people and working to improve tourism in the area.
Jones said one of the important projects the CCRTA has going is the grant program. With the changes, the deadline for the grants has been extended until June 2.
“We want everyone to apply, no matter how big or how small the event may be. We have some people ask for $200, and we’ve had people apply for the maximum amount. It’s open to all and we want people to have the opportunity,” He said. Information about the grant program can be found at http://visitclearfieldcounty.org.
“I want to stay here (as director) for the rest of my career,” Jones said. I’ve been to many conventions and what I really liked is that they said a prayer before getting started. That meant a lot to me. I feel blessed and honored to have this position.”
Jones said the office is open from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. He said there will be an open house at the Visit Clearfield County (VCC) office June 8.