Kent County Tourism director Small retiring

DOVER — Kent County Tourism Executive Director Cindy Small will retire effective Nov. 5, officials confirmed Friday.

Ms. Small spent eight years in the position, overseeing the office as several county events grew steadily to boost the economy locally and throughout the state, Kent County Tourism Executive Board Director Anita Evans said.

Ms. Small verified her departure in a statement issued Friday evening.

“It has been my honor to serve as executive director of Kent County Tourism for the past eight years,” she said. “I am extremely proud of my contributions to the organization and its accomplishments, which have helped make our area a better place to live, work and visit.”

Cindy Small

Cindy Small

She is out of the office on vacation days until an official retirement date of Nov. 5.

“Obviously she had a passion for Kent County, she had an energy, an intelligence,” Ms. Evans said when asked to describe Ms. Small’s presence and impact during her tenure.

“Every event we’ve had has been successful and grown and she will be missed.”

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said Ms. Small’s retirement was “very unexpected” and “I’m sad to see her leave but during her tenure she brought a great focus to Dover and Kent County and took events to greater levels that will hopefully emanate for years to come.

“We’d like to try to talk her out of retiring … but it’s with a heavy heart to see her go.”

With a search for an executive director ongoing, the remaining four-member Kent County Tourism staff will continue operations, Ms. Evans said. The Executive Board does not plan to bring on an assistant director at this time.

“Obviously tourism is a very important part of the economy for Kent County and the state and we don’t want to miss a beat,” Ms. Evans said.

Regarding the search, Ms. Evans said, “It’s always busy. We know we need a replacement as soon as possible, but need to take enough time to pick the proper candidate.

“There’s no question she leaves big shoes to fill.”

The office’s next big event is the Celebration of Tourism luncheon on Nov. 6 at Dover’s Duncan Center that will salute the office’s 25th anniversary, Ms. Evans said.

The Everything Formal Bridal and Celebration Expo will be held on Jan. 30, 2016.

Other significant events include the recently completed Delaware Beer and Wine Festival, and the Amish Country Bike Tour. Dover Days comes on May 6-8, 2016. Ms. Evans said Dover Days and the Beer and Wine Festival were chosen as an American Bus Association top 100 event in 2014.

“Events have reached the size that means year-around attention to them is needed,” Ms. Evans said.

Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce President Judy Diogo received news of Ms. Small’s retirement on Friday afternoon.

“She had an extremely positive impact on tourism in Kent County,” she said. “She grew a lot of events and she increased awareness of tourism in Kent County.

“Cindy was very good at creating partnerships. She came in with a new vision of tourism in Kent County and she carried it through.”

For her part, Ms. Small is looking forward.

“I’m excited about the future and new opportunities — I still have a lot to give to this great state that has given so much to me.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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