Long-time leader of the Butler County Visitors Bureau Mark Hecquet is calling it quits and the agency has named an interim chief.
Travel Butler County Board Chair Greg Ossmann said Hecquet, president and CEO, will resign his post in mid-January to “pursue a new opportunity.”
“Mark’s leadership has been an important and integral part of Travel Butler County’s successes over the past 16 years, and we wish him well in all of his future endeavors” Ossmann said.
Hecquet told the Journal-News he is moving to Springfield, MO to head the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. He said he wasn’t looking for a change, they found him.
“I have enjoyed every minute leading the Travel Butler County team, working with the county commissioners and all the all communities throughout Butler County. We have had many wonderful successes over the years and the Butler County tourism community has grown tremendously and is poised for much more growth,” Hecquet said. “Having been the first CEO of the organization, Butler County will always have a special place for me but it is time for someone else to lead the organization forward.”
Ossmann announced the board of directors has unanimously approved the appointment of Tracy Kocher to be the interim chief. Kocher most recently held the position of vice president of Marketing and Communications, and has been with the organization for 10 years.
“Tracy brings a level of knowledge and expertise that will be invaluable during this transition phase, and best position the organization for future growth,” Ossman said.
Hecquet visited the Butler County commissioners’ meeting on Monday to say farewell and thank them for their support. He said on his new job he’ll manage more than double the size of the tourism budget here and a team of around 18 “so it’s a much bigger operation.”
“It’s nothing that Butler County has done, it’s like an inner desire to do some different things in a different community... Springfield Missouri just has a set of challenges and similarities, I’m very intrigued by it” he said adding “I just think it’s time at the end of the day, I just think obviously we’ve been on this really excellent path of success and the reality of the success of what we do is creativity. Not to say that I’m tapped out of creativity but sometimes and I think, and Tracy will bring this, it’s just a different look, a different look for our county.”
The commissioners all said they will miss him.
“Mark we’ve had a great relationship and my observation is part of the reason you have been successful is because you’ve v=been able to establish a trust with people that you’re working with and the hotel owners and that,” Commissioner T.C. Rogers said. “Maybe the commission made some decisions that made our county more attractive but somebody had to sell it and that’s what you guys did.”
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