By TESA GLASS firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — As the city becomes known as the festival arts city, more festivals and events need planned, coordinated and marketed.
The extra work prompted the city to create a new position with the Tourism Department of marketing executive — which has been filled by Rachel Hunsell.
"I'm really excited about being a part of helping Mt. Vernon grow," Hunsell said. "I started reading about the branding project and what the city is trying to do and I want to be a part of it."
Hunsell, a Woodlawn native, attended college at Southeastern Missouri State University and graduated with a degree in public relations.
"I also danced and studied history," Hunsell said. "I dabbled in just about everything. I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college."
Last summer, Hunsell said she worked at Dale's Harley Davidson in the marketing department.
"I really enjoyed it," Hunsell said. "I enjoyed helping the business grow. I had spent two summers up front, then one behind the scenes and that was awesome."
After returning to campus, Hunsell became president of the SEMO chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.
"I enjoyed the leadership position," Hunsell said. "I decided I wanted to strive for goals in my life that would put me in leadership positions."
When she graduated, she came back home.
"I thought I wanted to leave the area and go to Chicago or St. Louis," Hunsell admitted. "My friend ... told me about the job position here. ... This is my hometown. I know, I grew up in Woodlawn, but Mt. Vernon is the hub and it's where people from Woodlawn and the surrounding areas go to shop and do things. Mt. Vernon is as much my hometown as Woodlawn is."
In her second week on the job, Hunsell has hit the ground running, working on planning of the Fall Festival.
"It's coming up quickly," Hunsell said. "I'm working on sponsorships and getting the community really involved."
In addition, Hunsell is working on the tourism information piece, "Destination Mt. Vernon," the tourism web site and various brochures.
"We're working on building on all the ideas there are out there to make Mt.Vernon an even better place," Hunsell said. "I want to help create more fun things for people to do. I remember growing up with my friends, saying 'what can we do?' Now, I can help develop things to do for people of all ages to do. I'm excited about doing that."