Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau director, Kristi Lee, was named city Employee of the Year for 2016 for heading efforts for the visit of the Vietnam Wall.

Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau director, Kristi Lee, was named city Employee of the Year for 2016 for heading efforts for the visit of the Vietnam Wall.
In this Quick 5 interview, she talks about the event and its value to the Leavenworth area.

1. Kristi, as Leavenworth’s Employee of the Year for 2016, you were instrumental in bringing the  American Veterans Traveling Tribute wall to Leavenworth. Why was it so important for you to organize this visit for the community?
This was such an amazing event to start my career out with the City of Leavenworth.  Leavenworth is known as a military town and this was a military event to recognize those who have served our nation, we had to do this right.  The community would be attending this event and it needed to be a good experience for the community and attendees as a whole.
 
2. Was it a rewarding experience to work with veteran service organizations, sponsors, city employees and volunteers to ensure that this tribute to those who served was available for local residents to view?
It was a wonderful experience to work with everyone involved and we all had the same focus – to honor the veterans who have served our country.  Everyone was on the same page and we all worked so well together from the police, fire, parks and rec., public information officer, Convention and Visitors Bureau, Convention and Visitor Bureau Ambassadors, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, The Garrison Command, Fort Leavenworth Adjutant General’s Office, Veterans Administration, and the Central Plains Consolidated Patient Account Center, plus many individual volunteers from the community.  There was a ton of behind-the-scenes work before and after the wall arrived in town.  I can honestly say it was a team effort on everyone’s part and I was honored to be a part of it.
 
3. What were your first thoughts after it was set up and you viewed it in its entirety for the first time? Do you think community members gained a better understanding of the sacrifices veterans have made for the country after viewing the wall?
I remember the morning of setup with the fog all around us and the sun trying to shine through the mist but it just wasn’t able to and thinking that it was an amazing sight to see it all coming together and how big it was going to be (80 percent replica of the one in DC).  The number of names on the wall was overwhelming and really brought home the consequences of war.   I felt the presence of the wall when walking in front of it, and heard back from several veterans and family members who were very moved by the experience, as I was.
 
4 What has been unique or different about managing the Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau since February, compared to your previous job as Convention and Visitors Bureau director in Franklin County?
 Actually the jobs are basically the same except I was working for the County in Franklin and here I’m orking for the City.  I’ve been in this industry since 1996 and love working in the Travel and Tourism Industry.  The towns and people are unique and I love getting to know a community inside and out and promoting them to the outside world.  
 
5. What is your favorite part of your job and what  are some of your goals for the CVB in 2017?
Traveling around the state and getting to know the other communities as well as your own.   Some of my goals for the coming year are to increase the number of meetings that Leavenworth hosts.  We have some really great venues and hotels to house the overnight attendees.   With a couple more hotels on the horizon in late 2017 and early 2018.  We will be reaching out to the community leaders asking that they remember Leavenworth when their businesses or an organization they belong to are holding a regional or annual meeting and to give us a call and let us help them make Leavenworth their “first choice” for meetings.    A couple other goals are to redesign several of the older brochures with the new logo and theme of “First City of Kansas” and to also get out in the public more this coming year.  I love Leavenworth and I’m very happy to be here.
— Rimsie McConiga