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Ray Kohl of Galax has been named director of the Galax Visitor Center, and is replacing the position of Galax Tourism Director, last held by Chuck Riedhammer, who resigned last month.
Kohl was hired last Thursday and will begin in the new position today, Monday.
“He was a top candidate and comes to us with a lot of experience in marketing and management, both in facility operations and festival management,” said Galax City Manager Keith Barker. “He has a great set of skills that will be a good match for the city and has ideas for marketing the community.”
Kohl worked in marketing and customer service and facility management at the Olde Mill Golf Course in Laurel Fork for eight years, and at Wythe County Parks and Recreation for nine years.
Kohl has also been a member of the Galax School Board for a number of years, and served for a number of years on the Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“He has 16 years of experience in marketing and management that will benefit us,” said Barker.
Kohl will be in charge of organizing city-sponsored festivals, such as Leaf & String, and will operate the new visitor center, located on East Grayson Street downtown, across from the Galax Municipal Building.
The new director will also work with Barker to hire part-time personnel at the Galax Visitors' Center.
The center was slated to open earlier this year, but that was postponed after the city crew had to halt construction to replace a generator at the Galax Water Treatment Plant. Shortly after the renovations were complete, Riedhammer — who was to manage the center and relocate his office there from the municipal building — put in his notice of resignation and took a job with the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission.
Since then, the city been seeking a director to operate the welcome center. Barker said the center will open soon after Kohl begins in his new position.