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Our Team

Heart & Hands

Our team is made up of dedicated and motivated tourism marketing professionals.



Executive Director

Jeff comes to the Authority with nineteen years of experience with the Virginia Tourism Corporation, most recently as the Tourism Relations Manager with VTC, working in various roles; welcome center operations in Bristol, marketing, sales, and public relations.  Jeff also brings his fifteen years of experience as an owner/operator of a tourism and retail related small business in Honaker, Virginia; Bucks and Bass Sporting Goods and Guide Service. In his off time, he enjoys cheering on his daughter's high school soccer games and outdoor adventures with his family. He also maintains a small 'hobby' farm.

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Office/Visitor Center Manager

Pam first joined the Heart of Appalachia team in February 2012. A jack of all trades, she serves the organization in accounting, website and grant administration, literature fulfillment, and team support. In addition to 18 years of experience as a freelance website developer and administrator, she has over 30 years of customer support supervision and marketing and production management experience with a major US impact/non-impact print imaging manufacturer. In her downtime, Pam volunteers as a mentor of Team Estonoa – a student-initiated, service-learning group based in St. Paul, and at a local food pantry. A mother of four children, including identical twins, plus two stepchildren, Pam and her husband share six grandsons, five granddaughters and one great-grandson.

Heart & Hands

Our Story

Recognizing that the state's Coalfield counties have a unique culture and history, the Virginia Legislature created the Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority in 1993 to tell that authentic story and promote this region as an exciting tourism destination. 

Established and governed by the Code of Virginia, the Heart of Appalachia was tasked to promote, expand and develop the tourism industries of the seven counties and one city within the LENOWISCO and Cumberland Plateau planning districts. They include the westernmost counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise and the City of Norton.


Focusing on outdoor adventure, the region's natural beauty, and its wealth of assets – from shopping, dining, and lodging to events, activities, outfitters, and attractions, Heart of Appalachia is proud to showcase those assets. We utilize a variety of advertising campaigns, special promotions, and marketing materials that include the Appalachian Backroads Motorcycle Touring & Travel Map, Fish to Your Heart’s Content fishing brochure, and the Heart of Appalachia's Official Travel Guide. In addition, we bring our message to potential visitors at trade shows, festivals and events, television, and radio, as well as numerous digital and print media outlets. 


We've hosted several marketing and hospitality training sessions to help our businesses present themselves positively and professionally so their customers will keep coming back. We conduct FAM tours so our board members and stakeholders stay familiar with the various assets throughout the region rather than just their jurisdiction.

The Heart of Appalachia also maintains a Commonwealth Certified Visitors Information Center in St. Paul, Virginia, and partners with Virginia Tourism Corporation, the state's official tourism development organization.

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Heart & Hands

Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of a group of hands-on destination marketing organization (DMO) professionals and community business leaders.


The Heart of Appalachia Tourism Authority is governed by a board of directors, consisting of 18 regional representatives.


These 18 men and women include 2 representatives from each of the authority's 8 governing localities. They include a tourism director or appointee and one local representative of the travel industry. These local representatives may come to us from local lodging venues, restaurants, attractions, parks, or outdoor recreation ventures. They may serve their city or county as a community leader or member of their local tourism committee. Additionally, the two remaining seats on the authority's Board of Directors are representatives of both the Jefferson National Forest Clinch Ranger District Office and Virginia State Parks.

The men and women who make up our Board of Directors work diligently to foster regional collaborations, oversee the work of our staff, and ensure the promotion of their individual local assets.

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Board Member
Email Address
Phone Number
Russell County
Shiloh Lyttle
Wise County
Michael Hatfield
Lee County
Dane Poe
Virginia State Parks
Sharon Buchanan
Wise County
Ked Meade
Scott County
Pam Cox
Virginia's Jefferson National Forest
Edward Wright
Scott County
Keith Wilson
City of Norton
Katie Dunn
Russell County
Shiloh Lyttle
Buchanan County
Brooke Boyd
Tazewell County
Rick Wood
City of Norton
Beth (Elizabeth) Walker
Russell County
Maddie Gordon
Tazewell County
AJ Robinson
Dickenson County
Rita Surratt
Lee County
Karen Maggard
Buchanan County
Matthew Fields
Dickenson County
Austin Bradley
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