Advisory Committee

Meet the members of our team!

 Learn more about the brilliant minds behind the Southern Hospitality Internship Program.

Barbara Joines, Director

Southern Hospitality Internship Program

Advisory Board Members

The Southern Hospitality Internship Program (SHIP) Advisory Committee is a collection of individuals who bring unique tourism and workforce knowledge to this new program.  The advisory committee does not have formal authority to govern the organization, that is, the advisory committee cannot issue directives which must be followed. Rather, the advisory committee serves to make recommendations and/or provide key information and materials to the Sevier County Economic Development Council (SCEDC) Board of Directors. The advisory committee will play an important public relations role as well as providing the SHIP Director and staff with a fresh perspective on programmatic issues.

Since the SCEDC Board of Directors has ultimate governance authority for the organization, the advisory committee is able to focus narrowly on specific areas of the program in order to advise or support the SHIP Director.

Each member will serve a 2-year term or until the organization receives a not-for-profit status. At that point a board of directors will be established for the organization and will become a stand-alone organization outside of the SCEDC.

Mark Adams


Gatlinburg Convention Visitor’s Bureau

Kent Anders


Ober Gatlinburg, Inc.

Chris Blanton


Citadel Construction/The Cherokee Group

Ryan DeSear

Regional Manager

Ripley’s Entertainment

Leon Downey

Executive Director

Pigeon Forge Dept. of Tourism

Rick Harrell


SCEDC Board of Directors

Barbara Joines – Committee Chair


Let Us Look Now, LLC

Justin Jones



Brenda McCroskey


Sevierville Chamber of Commerce

Eugene Naughton


The Dollywood Company

Jim Rule


World Choice Investments

Jackelyn Schafer

General Manager

The Park Vista, a Doubletree by Hilton

Pete Tennis

General Manager

Wilderness Resort

Kent Yarnall

General Manager

Old Mill’s Pottery House Cafe