Friday seemed a banner day for the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce and the city of Brownwood with each organization making major announcements during the chamber’s monthly luncheon.
Sunni Modawell, Brownwood chamber director of tourism, made her first significant public appearance as interim chamber director last Friday, announcing the launching of visitbrownwood.com — a website dedicated to encouraging tourism in Brownwood.
“Yes, Brownwood has tourists. We have tourism and we are a destination,” Modawell said. “It’s a really great thing. As a matter of fact, tourist spent about $47 million in Brown County in 2016 … That’s pretty impressive to me. That generated about $900,000 in sales tax revenue. Those are big, lofty numbers that sound all well and good, but I want to translate that to how it affects you. If we had not had visitors come to Brownwood and spend that $47 million, every single person in Brown County would have to spend an additional $1,300 a year just to replace that revenue.”
Modawell made her first appearance at a chamber luncheon since the departure of former chamber director Ray Tipton, who left the chamber earlier this month after taking a job with the city of Brownwood as the director of the Brownwood Municipal Development District. Modawell said it has not been easy stepping into Tipton’s shoes, but her support staff has lessened the burden.
“It was a different role to step into, but we have all worked so closely together it has not been a series of road bumps,” Modawell said. “… It’s been great. However, on the other side of that we’re missing our partner in crime. As exciting as this new adventure is, we still miss Ray. Even though he is going to do some wonderful things, his lack of presence is going to leave a void for a while. Everyone is stepping up and taking on responsibilities.”
In regards to Tipton’s replacement, Modawell said the chamber has received numerous resumes in application for the chamber director position, but will not make a decision on that until sometime late August or early September.
“The hiring committee has taken applications and reviewed all of the applications and resumes we received. They’re not inclined to make a decision right now. It may be six weeks or so,” Modawell said.