Meet our 2021 Board of Directors

Vice Mayor Mark McCownVice Mayor, Mark McCown

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I am an appointed member representing the City.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am retired. I was a landlord and ran a grocery store for 20 years.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
Being on the City Commission.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I sing in the choir and am a Deacon at First Baptist Church of Gatlinburg. I graduated from ETSU. I am a graduate of Officer Candidate School and served in the US Army for 3 years.

Mayor Mike WernerMayor, Mike Werner

What is your position on Board and how long is your term? 
I am an appointed member representing the City.

Where do you work and what do you do? 
I am in property management in Gatlinburg.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business? 
We have been Chamber members for nearly 40 years and being a member has had an incredibly positive impact.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
I have a love for Gatlinburg and the people who have business here and the people who work here. Also, the quality of life for our residents is very important to me.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I walk for an hour every day.

Board of Director, Cornelia DobbinsPast Chair, Cornelia Dobbins

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
Past Chair and my term will expire this year. 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the General Manager at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Gatlinburg.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
The Hilton Garden Inn has been a chamber member since its opening in May 2009. We feel the chamber is a vital part of the community, it gives you an insight into what is going on in the community and in the business sector.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
To be involved is to be connected to what is going on in the community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Despite my short stature of 5’2”, I received a basketball scholarship to play for a junior college and then went on to play for a small 4-year school in Virginia.

Appointed Director, Jim DownsAppointed Director, Jim Downs

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I was appointed to the Board because I am the GM of Rocky Top Sports World.
 
Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the General Manager of Rocky Top Sports World.
 
How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
Rocky Top Sports World opened in 2014.
 
What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
I really like the feeling of being connected to the rest of the community. I appreciate the hard work that the staff and the board put in to create a vision for Gatlinburg.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I was on the team that created the X Games for ESPN and served as the director of Sports and Competitions for six years.

Board of Director, Bob BentzDirector at Large, Bob Bentz

What is your position on Board and how long is your term? 
I was elected to the board in the Attraction, at the large position in 2021, and will serve for 3 years.
 
Where do you work and what do you do? 
Anakeesta, I am the Managing Partner.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business? 
Anakeesta has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2016. The Chamber keeps Anakeesta connected to the Gatlinburg business community and has had a positive impact on our growth.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
I care deeply about the future of Gatlinburg. My hope is to have a positive impact on future planning by helping to craft a long-term vision for the City. Gatlinburg is a thriving tourism destination and as a Board member, I hope to help ‘raise the bar’ as the City continues to grow.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
In the summer of 1979, I graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Forestry then went to work as a ranger/naturalist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

Board of Director, Kevin TierneyElected Director, Kevin Tierney

What is your position on Board and how long is your term? 
I am an elected Board Member and my 3-year term ends in 2021
 
Where do you work and what do you do? 
I own Lorelei Candles with my wife Lori and I operate Lorelei Video Productions, a video production company as well. Lori and I produce unique candles we call novelty candles, they are in the shapes of animals, people, fruit, just about anything we can think of to make. I sculpt the pieces then make rubber molds that are then poured with wax. They're hand-painted with colored wax and finished off. I also produce programming for the Gatlinburg Information TV station, which helps to promote the businesses throughout Gatlinburg. Both of these businesses have been in operation for nearly 40 years here.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business? 
We've been members of the Gatlinburg Chamber for all the time we've been in business, it is without a doubt the best thing we have done for our businesses. Through the Chamber, we are able to meet and connect with other business people operating both small and large companies which have provided us with invaluable resources.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
I have served on the Chamber Board off and on since 1984 and have enjoyed every minute. It keeps me informed and involved with what's going on around town, in the Park, and throughout the state and country. I enjoy hearing firsthand from other business people what they're doing and what new businesses are coming into the area. 

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
Not everyone knows that I grew up singing in my church choir as a boy and still today I sing at my church every Sunday. Lori and I have two children and now three lovely grandchildren.  

Christy PeraultElected Director, Christy Perault

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I was elected for a 3-year term, ending this year.
 
Where do you work and what do you do?
General Manager Cherokee Grill in Gatlinburg
 
How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
Being a member of the chamber comes with many benefits. The chamber works very hard at marketing for our community which we in return we receive business and profit. I also feel our chamber does a great job of giving back to many different foundations as well!
 
What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
Being involved in what is going on in town and being a voice for the restaurants.
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
When not working I enjoy being out in the garden with my family. I am always looking to try something new to grow each year!

Appointed Director, Deidra FaulknerAppointed Director, Deidra Faulkner

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
I serve on the Board as an appointed Designated Director. I have a 3-year term and I am currently serving my second year.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a wedding coordinator for Gatlinburg's Little Log Wedding Chapel which ultimately means I am a "Jack of all trades." I have grown up around this industry and love learning skills or new ways to assist our couples and their guests. My ten-year anniversary with Gatlinburg's Little Log Wedding Chapel is coming up next month.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
This business has been a member since 1991. The Chamber has helped us to grow our business through their advertising. Their marketing is great for a small business like ours. The chamber also reminds couples that Gatlinburg is a great destination wedding choice because it has so much to offer an entire family as they take the time to celebrate and vacation. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
As a young girl of about 8, I followed my dad to the Chamber to help address envelopes for marketing leads. I knew then the impact that the chamber had not only on businesses but on our community as well. Feeling that importance at a young age inspired me to be more involved with the community and also with the Chamber. Gatlinburg is my home and I feel that it is a special place with so much to offer our visitors.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
Most people do not know that I am fluent in American Sign Language (ASL.) My mother is an interpreter for the deaf and she taught me sign language at a young age. I was fortunate to be involved with the deaf community in the church and made many lifelong friends.

Elected Director, Woods HippenstealElected Director, Woods Hippensteal

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
I am the elected Board Representative for the Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Craft Association.

Where do you work and what do you do? 
I work at the Vern Hippensteal Gallery on Buckhorn Rd, I am a Gallerist and Artist.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business? 
It's hard to say how long we were Members while Vern was on the Board. We rejoined the Chamber last year when I returned to Gatlinburg and the Gallery.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
A need from the GSACC made me want to join, and the history of my father on the board. Also, a fascination with what is happening in the business community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I spend most of my time off work hiking, and trout fishing in the Smokies.

David Faulkner Board DirectorDirector at Large, David Faulkner

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
I am a Director at Large and will serve until December 2023. 

Where do you work and what do you do? 
I have been involved with Gatlinburg's Little Log Wedding Chapel for the last eleven years. I am the primary minister for our weddings.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
This business has been with the chamber since 1991, and the chamber has been a key tool that has helped us in marketing our business and has expanded our outreach significantly. In 2019, our last full year, we had weddings from 47 states and six foreign countries. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
In my years as a church pastor, I was always involved with the communities where we lived. I felt that I should be giving back to what was my "hometown."  I and my family moved into Gatlinburg, on a Wednesday afternoon in May 1982, and I attended the city commission meeting the following Tuesday night, all because Gatlinburg was now my "hometown."  

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
Two things that no one knows, outside of the family, is that I was taught how to hang glide, by Frank Rogallo, who designed the Rogallo glider, at his school in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and I followed my (sword) fencing years in college, by being trained for several years by Grigory Kriss, from the Soviet Union, who was an Olympic gold medal winner in Epee' fencing.

Appointed Director, Robert MontgomeryAppointed Director, Robert Montgomery

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
I serve in a GCVB Appointed Board Seat, appointed by the Gatlinburg City Commission. 

Where do you work and what do you do?
My business interests include Gatlin’s at Reagan Terrace Mall, which began as Old Gatlinburg Golf & Games in 1992, Gatlin’s Emporium and Escape Room at The Village, Island Mirror Maze on The Island in Pigeon Forge, Backstage Mirror Maze and Escape Games at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach and I am also a partner in a group who leases and manages the shops at Reagan Terrace Mall and Carousel Mall in Gatlinburg. 

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
We have been a Chamber member since 1992. I subscribe to the saying “all boats rise and fall with the tides” and thus our businesses are impacted daily by how our community and Chamber/CVB do as a whole. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
I was motivated to be involved by Brownlee Reagan when he appointed me a member of the Chamber marketing committee back in 1989. I did what he said :). But I am so glad he did as I have learned so much over the years from all the awesome Chamber leaders we have had in the community. It’s been an incredible and worthy experience ever since that first committee appointment. 

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
My first job in Gatlinburg was pumping gas at Virgil’s Texaco at the Park entrance when I was 12 (it’s now the Marathon Gas station). Tommy Trentham looked at me one day and said “well, are you going to go fishing today, or do you want to put that pole down and go to work for us”. I guess they had a hard time finding employees way back then too! 

Elected Director, Sherri WebbElected, Sherri Webb

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I was elected for a two-year term. I go off the board in December.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I’m employed at Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg where I am one of the Group Sales Managers.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
Margaritaville has been a member since they opened three years ago.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
My love and passion for the community and its people. There is no other place I would rather live and business I would rather serve than here. I truly am honored to have been elected by the Chamber Members to serve.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I’m the Cub Scout Master for Troop 111 here in Gatlinburg.
 

Eric TreadwayDesignated, Eric Treadway

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I am appointed to represent the Gatlinburg Hospitality Association.

Where do you work and what do you do?
Courtyard by Marriott-Gatlinburg Downtown and I am the General Manager.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
Since 2015. The Chamber has always been and will continue to be an advocate for our business. The continued working relationship that we have has proven to set us up for success on many occasions.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
To help make a difference within our great community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
In addition to having a Hotel/Restaurant Management degree, I also have a degree in Culinary Arts in Hot/Cold foods.  

Elected Director, Davy ThomasElected Director, Davy Thomas

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
Elected, 3 years through 2023

Where do you work and what do you do? 
Principal/Chief Operating Officer with Hospitality Solutions. We develop and manage hotels. We have management contracts for six hotels in Gatlinburg.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business? 
Each hotel within our portfolio has been a member of the Chamber since its opening, with the exception of the Historic Gatlinburg Inn which opened 21 years before the Chamber was officially chartered in June of 1957. Being a Chamber Member is so important to any business in Gatlinburg and allows the business to network with the entire membership and belong to a wonderful community that provides perks in marketing and advertisement to include the Gatlinburg Vacation Guide which is distributed throughout the nation. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member? 
Having spent my entire life in Sevier County, I have a love for Gatlinburg and wish to give back to this beautiful Mountain Town that has provided so much to me and my entire family.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I met my wife of 29 years in Spanish class in 1987. She is the reason I took Spanish II.

Michele Canney, AnakeestaDesignated Director, Michele Canney

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I serve as a Designated Director on the Board and am the liaison representing the Gatlinburg Attractions Association. I was appointed in 2019 and am completing my final year of a 3-year term. I also serve on the Chamber’s Marketing Committee.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work as the VP of Marketing and Sales for Anakeesta. Along with my husband Kevin, I am also a partner of the company.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business
Anakeesta is relatively new to the attractions scene in Gatlinburg having opened in September of 2017. We became members of the Chamber in 2016 and found the guidance and insights from the Chamber team to be invaluable to our start-up and success. The Chamber provided many valuable introductions in the community while advising on demographics and the surrounding market. Now, almost 4 years later our Chamber membership helps us to continue to stay informed, grow and expand.

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
For the past 25 years, I have been an annual visitor vacationing in Gatlinburg and my family and I have grown to love the area. Participating as a board member means I can contribute ideas and experience while helping to shape the future of Gatlinburg. I firmly believe that the success of each individual business here is dependent upon the success of our City as a whole. I am honored to participate in shaping the vision and success of our business community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. 
I love the outdoors. Running, hiking, biking, fishing, zip-lining, or just walking outside, all while spending time with family and friends, is where I find my ‘happy place.’ I am so passionate about Anakeesta because it encompasses that love for the outdoors and allows us to share that passion with all who visit our park.

Marlee MontgomerySecretary, Marlee Montgomery

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
I was elected to the Board in 2019. My three-year term ends in 2022. Currently, I am the Board’s Secretary and serve on its Executive Committee. 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I am a partner in a company that leases all the shops and restaurants at both Reagan Terrace Mall and The Shoppes at Carousel Mall; I am also an owner and merchandiser for Gatlin’s Emporium in The Village, a new immersive game and escape room store; and I am Vice President & Director of Marketing for Montgomery Amusements LLC, which owns three attraction locations, Gatlin’s in Gatlinburg, Island Mirror Maze on The Island in Pigeon Forge and Backstage Mirror Maze and Escape Games at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
We have been a member for nearly 30 years, joining in 1992. The Gatlinburg Chamber & the GCVB have given me opportunities to meet and learn from others in the business community throughout my life - from being in a stroller at chamber member events as a toddler with my parents to today serving as a Chamber Board member. The Chamber membership has provided me numerous, valuable professional relationships. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
After moving from Nashville to Gatlinburg and becoming a full-time resident for the first time since I was a child, I wanted the opportunity to become engaged with the chamber and the Gatlinburg community.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I am a MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Warrior 💪, who won’t let anything slow me down.

David MooreTreasurer, David Moore

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
Treasurer. I have 2 years left.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Citizens National Bank on CHEROKEE ORCHARD and I am the Branch Manager and Commercial & Consumer Loan Officer.

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
The Chamber has allowed me to interact with many of the city's corporate residents in a more relaxed, personable setting. I get to hear what they appreciate and what they desire more of directly from them. (Between you and I, it also helps me with prospecting new customers!)

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
Since I arrived in the Gatlinburg community in 2013, I was welcomed with open arms. It was my desire to find a way to help this community beyond my capacity as a loan officer. The Chamber allows me to be a part of decisions that directly affect the city and its businesses.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Annually my family hosts a horse show in Hudson, FL to honor my late sister. All proceeds from this event are donated to seniors at the high school she attended in the area. Donations have also been made to the Pasco Co. Sheriff's Office in the form of the state's first "Live Find" rescue dog trained to find survivors of natural disasters trapped inside the debris. 

Jackelyn Schafer, Board Co-Chair, Gatlinburg CVBBoard Vice-Chair, Jackelyn Schafer

What is your position on the Board and how long is your term?
Vice-Chair appointed 2019 term expires in 2022. I have served on the Chamber Board of Directors in several positions since its inception and prior to that on the Tourism Advisory Board since the early 2000s.

Where do you work and what do you do?
The Park Vista a DoubleTree by Hilton – General Manager

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
We have been members since the ’80s. Being a member of the chamber is a valuable extension of any business's marketing arm. The combined efforts of many is always more successful than one alone. 

What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
I am a firm believer that if you are part of a community you should be engaged in that community. The success of any organization is dependent on the involvement of its members all working for a common goal.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I love to spend time with my family boating and RV’ing. I am Mom to three, Grammy to six, and Great Grammy to one. 

David Moore, Board Chair, Gatlinburg CVBBoard Chair, Ryan Booth

What is your position on Board and how long is your term?
This is my last year serving a three-year term. I was elected at large, and am currently serving as Board Chair.

Where do you work and what do you do?
I represent my family’s business, The Hayloft in The Village. It is a small family, owned and operated business that has been in my family since 1980. I have grown up working there, learning from my Dad and Mother about how to assist our customers and be a place that they will want to visit each time they come to Gatlinburg. 

How long has your business been a Chamber Member and how has the membership impacted your business?
My family's business has been a Chamber Member for over 30 years. The Chamber has helped our business by reaching customers and bringing them into our shop. 
 
What motivated you to be involved as a Board Member?
I was born and raised in Gatlinburg. I deeply care for the people of Gatlinburg, both the locals and the tourists that visit our area. I wanted to get involved as a Board Member to contribute my knowledge and love for the area. I want to help improve Gatlinburg and continue to make it the special place it is. 
 
Tell us something we don’t know about you. 

My favorite thing about growing up in Gatlinburg was being able to walk across the street after getting out of school at Pi Beta Phi and getting a donut at The Donut Friar. 

6 Essential Hacks for Planning Your Mt. LeConte Hike

You can stock a backpack and head up for a stay at the rustic LeConte Lodge, and despite the lack of electricity, it is a sellout every year.

Learn More