The Fort Smith A&P Commission voted in a special meeting Friday (Nov. 13) to name Timothy Jacobsen of Osage Beach, Mo., as the next A&P executive director. He will be paid $115,000, 19% higher than the salary of former director Claude Legris.
Jacobsen is the executive director of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau in Osage Beach, and was one of three finalists for the executive director position.
“We are excited to have someone with his experience, coming to us from one of the most popular areas in the country, the Lake of the Ozarks,” said Fort Smith Mayor George McGill, who serves as chair of the commission. “He has a wealth of experience and will bring with him new ideas for our city.”
The other two were William (Bill) Sabo of Fort Smith, formerly of New Orleans, who was the former director of food, music and technology for the New Orleans Business Alliance, and Krisilee Murphy of Elgin, Ill., the executive director of the Elgin Area Convention and Visitors Bureau in Elgin, Ill.
McGill said Jacobsen accepted the offer Friday. The matter then came before the commission during a special meeting Friday afternoon for final approval. The executive director of the A&P is not a city position, but rather an employee of the A&P Commission.
The A&P Commission agreed in July to contract with SearchWide Global to advertise and recruit for the executive director. SearchWide Global is an executive recruitment firm primarily for companies in the travel, tourism, hospitality, convention, trade association, venue management and experiential marketing industries, according to its website.
Former executive director Legris retired July 10. Carolyn Joyce, group sales travel manager for the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau, was named the interim executive director after his retirement. Joyce, who also has portrayed Miss Laura as an ambassador for Fort Smith for many years, retired in late October.
Storm Nolan, A&P commissioner and head of the search committee for the new executive director, said the job search garnered almost 100 applicants. SearchWide Global narrowed those to eight or nine candidates. The search committee further reduced that to three candidates they asked to come to Fort Smith for interviews.
Jacobsen has been executive director of the Lake of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention & Visitor Bureau since 2005. Prior to that he served as the general manager Inn at Grand Glaize Lakeside Resort & Conference Center in Osage Beach. He attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Nolan said Jacobsen would have a base salary of $115,000 with a $10,000 possible performance-based bonus. He is expected to begin in his new role by late December of the first of the year, Nolan added. The A&P Commission named former Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders interim director Nov. 8.
The annual salary range for the position is $84,822 to $127,212, according to Rick Lolley, director of human resources for the City of Fort Smith. At the time of his retirement, Legris was earning $96,646.68 per year, according to Fort Smith City Administrator Carl Geffken.