FLORENCE — Haley Newton, a certified travel marketing professional with Northwest Alabama State Parks, has been tapped to fill an open position on the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism board.
Her term ends in 2023.
Board member Larry McCoy said Newton brings a wealth of experience to the board.
“I’m excited to be a part of it,” she said after attending her first meeting Thursday.
Originally from Decatur, Newton began her career as a teacher before becoming an event coordinator with the state parks. From there, she began marketing for Joe Wheeler State Park and earned her marketing credentials.
She now coordinates events and handles marketing for Joe Wheeler, Monte Sano, Cathedral Caverns, Rickwood Caverns and Lake Lurleen state parks, visiting each about once a month.
Newton said the variety of facilities and attractions at Joe Wheeler has prepared her for several aspects of tourism.
While she is still “taking it all in,” the Rogersville resident said she has some ideas and viewpoints she is eager to share with the board.
One of her main goals is to shine a brighter spotlight on the events that are the “heart and soul” of rural Lauderdale County communities, such as the Trail of Tears and St. Florian’s Oktoberfest.
“Those are not big events to the city of Florence, but to these small areas, they’re huge,” she added. “They fund them for the year, basically, and I think that we need to put a little more attention on them.
“I know there’s a lot of focus on Florence city, so some of the rural areas may not get as much of that attention,” she added. “I’m hoping I can be a voice for those communities.”