About

Meet the Staff


 

Carolyn Joyce - headshot

CAROLYN JOYCE
Interim Executive Director
Tour & Travel Sales Manager

Carolyn has helped guide Fort Smith's tourism effort since 1992 as one of the original Convention & Visitors Bureau staff members. She is nationally recognized for her group travel sales expertise and was inducted into the Tourism Hall of Fame by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism. She is well-known for the establishment of the Fort Smith Visitors Center and as a spokesperson for Fort Smith. Carolyn greets groups at the visitors center in the character of Miss Laura and recounts the intriguing past of the only remaining structure that was a part of Fort Smith's infamous "red light" district during the days of the Old West. Her efforts even led to the mansion becoming the first former bordello to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to all of this, Carolyn coordinates the visitors center volunteer group, "Miss Laura's Starrs," who provide free guided tours of the building seven days a week.


Amy Jones - headshot

AMY KNIGHT JONES
Convention & Event Sales Mgr.

Amy was born in Enid, Oklahoma and raised in Broken Arrow. She relocated to the Fort Smith area in 1997 where she raised her three children Lauren, Tanner and Ty.  Amy has worked for Rausch Coleman Homes and attended college at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, as well as Carl Albert University. While working in the Fort Smith area, she was most comfortable working with the public and fell in love with the downtown area. Before taking her current position in June 2015 she spent 4 years as the Director of Sales for the Courtyard Marriott in Fort Smith. Her expertise was Sales and she found a calling in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. She is passionate when it comes to representing her city and strives to bring Conventions and Events to Fort Smith. In April of 2016, Amy married Kenny Jones. 


Russ Jester - headshot

RUSS JESTER
Marcom & Event Svcs. Mgr.

Russ is originally from the Texarkana, Arkansas area. He has been with the bureau since 2015. Russ is responsible for developing, executing and refining marketing and communications processes that serve an overall mission to increase awareness of Fort Smith as a business and leisure destination. He is the CVB's primary source for a full range of creative services, which has both enhanced the day-to-day marketing activities of the organization’s cross-functional team and greatly expanded the catalogue of in-house services now available to convention, meeting and special event clients. Some of his successes with the CVB include a website redesign that generated an 80% increase in website traffic within the first year and development of the city’s first mobile tourism app. Russ holds a B.A. in Journalism, Advertising & Public Relations from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and he is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, charter member of the Fort Smith Downtown Business Association, and serves on the board of directors for the Arkansas Festivals & Events Association.


Debra Cossey - headshot

DEBRA COSSEY
Executive Secretary

Debra was born in Compton,  California and raised in Bellflower,  California. When she married her husband, Dave, she relocated to Pocola, Oklahoma where she worked for several years at Pocola City Hall. Afterwards, she worked at Tyson Foods in Fort Smith within the Accounting & HR Department for nearly 20 years. Debra and Dave have one son, Court. Luckily, for the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau, Debra would apply for a position through the City of Fort Smith and become a valuable member of our team. As we like to say, Debra is our "Zookeeper" and keeps everything organized and on track!