Laura Weirick, general manager of the Mohican State Park Lodge for the past 19 years, has been appointed as the new director of the Loudonville-Mohican Visitor's Bureau.

Weirick started work for the CVB on July 1.

"The timing of the job change for me could not be more perfect," said Weirick, who had worked at the lodge for a total of 22 years. "Operating the lodge is a demanding position, a position that required me to work all holidays and weekends, and even involved phone calls in the middle of the night. I am a grandmother now, and I think it is time to slow down a bit."

"When the board of directors of the visitor's bureau heard that I was leaving the lodge they contacted me an asked if I would interview for their director's position. How lucky is that for me."

Weirick said she intended to take the summer off before working a new job, but was convinced by the CVB, which had been without a director since the middle of the spring, to start July 1.

Coming from the lodge, Weirick has a huge understanding of the challenges that face the area's overnight facilities.

"We could all use an additional 20 rooms from Memorial Day through the end of October, but then face a rugged challenge to fill up our rooms in the shoulder seasons. I see my position as working with our lodging facilities to see how to best assist them in doing just that. We have one of the most visited and highly rated state parks in Ohio, we also have many activities and events available, for all age groups, in the Mohican area, and we have a great downtown to support visitors."

Weirick grew up south of Dayton, Ohio, and was graduated in 1977 from West Carrolton High School. After high school she started working in restaurants and food service jobs, working all over Ohio for restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, Chi Chis and TGI Friday during the 1980s.

She was hired at the Mohican State Park Lodge in 1996, "and I immediately felt I could make it better," she said. After working a brief two months as a server, she was promoted to the position of food and beverage manager. She held that post for two years, and then was promoted to the lodge general manager position.

In her 22 years at the lodge, she worked for the same company the entire time, but noted "the name of the company changed three times, most recently Xanterra.

Weirick's departure from the lodge coincided with a change in management companies to U.S. Hotels.

"The management change might have served as a wake up call for me to readjust my priorities," she said. "My husband Dale and I have four daughters and a son, and six grandchildren. I want to see more of them."

In her new position, Weirick said, "My first task will be to figure out the lay of the land. I know a lot of the people involved in the lodging and recreation industry, but few of them well. So one of my first challenges will be to get to know the people better.

"Our three biggest lodging facilities are the Mohican Lodge, Landoll's Castle, and the Little Brown Inn, but we also have many one or a few rooms facilities, small lodges, house and cabin rentals, bed and breakfasts, and AirBnbs," she said. "I want to see that every one of these lodgings takes advantage of the things we can help them do. The services we provide are not fee based, but rather, are funded through bed taxes which are assessed as part of room fees."

She also plans to get to know representatives of other area visitor's bureaus to adopt strategies to promote the entire area.

The first big hands-on project she will involve herself in is publishing the 2019 Visitor's Guide, done with the help of vendor Lunar Cow.

"We also will look at ways to improve our website," she said. "I was fortunate to have computers and good technology to work with at the lodge which makes me somewhat experienced in web management and design. We need to focus on marketing ourselves in the digital age, including use of phone apps, social media and other technological programs."

Assisting Weirick in her first days has been long time Visitor's Bureau volunteer Virginia Reynolds."She does a lot, and has been helpful in getting me to know people who we have to work with," she said.

She also said she plans to apply connections she made as a board member of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association in her new position.

"I am very excited about this position. I see it as a win-win, me giving the Visitor's Bureau my experience of years of lodging management, and the bureau giving me an exciting position. I am honored to have this position and am looking forward to working with our lodging and business partners, as well as community leaders that serve as our board of directors, in making the Mohican Area a premier destination in Ohio."