(60 Total References)
Director of the Convention and
It was easy for Jana Jordan ...
It was easy for Jana Jordan to say good things about Hays for more than a quarter of a century.
It was a little more difficult to hold back tears on her
last day of work as the executive director of the Hays Convention
and Visitors Bureau
retirement from the position last month after a 26-year career.
"I have enjoyed selling the community," Jordan
"I believe what I'm telling people about Hays."
was honored at a retirement reception Friday, in the building that she
virtually helped build -- the Hays Welcome Center
-- and one of the biggest accomplishments during her
The spacious $1.2 million building at the corner of 27th and Vine Streets was completed in 2007.
The facility, designed to replicate the old train depot in downtown Hays, also houses the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce
, Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development
, Downtown Hays Development Corp.
and Heartland Foundation
successfully wrote a $700,000 enhancement grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation
for the welcome center.
The rest was to come from transient guest taxes paid by those who stay in Hays hotels, with a 2018 payoff date.
said, "We will pay that off this fall.
This is a gift from overnight visitors."
added, "we have visitors coming in here all the time.
Downtown, people didn't know where we were.
We had no visitors.
Now, it's the front door for our community."
said one of the most rewarding achievements during her
career was making Hays people aware of how much they had to offer.
In addition to numerous conferences and conventions held in Hays since Jordan's
start in 1988, Jordan
also worked at a variety of state high school events that brought oodles of fans to Hays for weekends several times a year.
"When I first started years ago, people in Hays didn't realize we had a tourism industry in Hays, and that has changed a great deal," she
"They realize what a boon it is for all these visitors coming to our community."
Jordan grew up in Hanston and after graduating from high school in 1973, attended Colby Community College.
She moved to Hays in 1978 and worked for Hays Travel before taking the Hays CVB position in 1988.
"She's always risen above, always put Hays first," Schwaller said of Jordan
, who had a knack for convincing people that Hays was the place to be -- whether it be for a visit or to put down stakes.
"It's a great place to raise a family," said Jordan
, who raised her
only son, Zach, in Hays.
son is grown and off on his
said it's time to take some time for herself.
will take a few months off, then search for another job, maybe a part-time one.
A search is ongoing for Jordan's
position, and most think they will be big shoes to fill.
"You've been a wonderful face for the city of Hays, an ambassador," Schwaller told Jordan
That seemed to be the consensus as well wishers greeted Jordan
with "good luck, we'll miss you, we love you" comments.
Some shook Jordan's
hand, but most gave her
Typical of Jordan
waved off the compliments, instead even on her
last day, continued to look at it all as a team effort.
"I want to thank you for what I feel was a successful career," she
told those in attendance, "only because you helped me out."
Jana Jordan, director of the ...
Jana Jordan, director of the Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the number of convention visitors has fallen by nearly half during the past eight or nine years to approximately 6,000.
said there have been complaints about a current site hosting conventions, the Hays Ambassador Hotel and Conference Center at 3603 Vine -- formerly the Ramada Inn.
The hotel has a 2.6 of 5 stars guest rating on Expedia.com.
Common guest reviews criticize the smell of cigarette smoke in rooms, mold, the lukewarm hot tub and excessive noise.
said a convention center would make Hays a "northwest Kansas destination" for many travelers rather than a stop along Interstate 70.
Although Dodge City's events center and casino might be attractive to convention groups, the culture in Hays is a compelling draw, she
"Once the people have been there, then they're willing to look at something else and they can remember how unique their visit was from three or four years ago, and think of coming back to Hays," Jordan
The Volga German heritage, Wild West history and downtown area define the local experience, she
No market research has been done to identify potential conventions, but the CVB has close ties to many groups.
"We know the market," Jordan
"Our meat and potatoes really has been in the pas,t and will be again, to target groups from that 150 to 250, even 300 (range)," Jordan
Hays Convention and
Visitors Bureau Director
Hays Convention & Visitors Bureau