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Waara Named Tourism Director

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Pierre, S.D. – Billie Jo Waara has been named the new Director of Tourism, according to Jim Hagen, secretary, Department of Tourism and State Development. A native of Milbank, SD, Waara sees her new position as “an opportunity to be part of something great.” Waara praised the visitor industry for their role in putting together the 2010 Initiative. “It’s exciting to come to an agency that has in place a vision for the next several years. Expanding visitor spending to $1.2 billion by 2010 is an ambitious goal and I am looking forward to working with all the segments of the visitor industry to achieve that goal,” she said. Waara most recently served as a Marketing Manager for Wells Fargo in Sioux Falls. Other work experience includes serving as Minnehaha County Treasurer and as the Public Affairs and Research Manager for the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Government from Augustana College and her master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota. “Billie Jo has a solid background in public relations and marketing,” said Hagen. “We are gearing up for our peak season campaign with new advertising and promotional activities being planned and Billie Jo’s expertise will help us move that forward,” Hagen said. He went on to note that being a South Dakota native is an advantage for Waara. “Billie Jo has spent most of her life in South Dakota and her love of the state is evident the minute you meet her,” he concluded.