PENDER COUNTY — Olivia Dawson is pulling double duty in her Pender County home as she takes over the reins as its new tourism director.
Dawson has been the mayor of Burgaw since 2021 and worked as tourism assistant for Pender County in the last six years. A Pender native, she is taking over as tourism director upon Tammy Proctor’s exit. Proctor has been in the role for nine years and Dawson will preside over the position beginning Dec. 3.
According to a press release from the county, Dawson will help develop and execute tourism-related activities to promote visitation to the county. She also will oversee marketing, sales and operation of the Pender County Tourism Visitor Center, located in Burgaw.
“I look forward to continuing to build with the Pender County Tourism team, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA), the board, local businesses, and the many community stakeholders who make Pender County special,” Dawson said in a press release.
She has held multiple roles helping in Pender County’s outreach for tourism throughout the years, including serving as the North Carolina Blueberry Festival’s coordinator and executive director, for which she was recognized by the North Carolina Festival & Events Association in 2019. The event brings in 40,000 people every June to Burgaw.
The mayor is the youngest and first female to hold office in Burgaw and currently acts as director of the North Carolina Blueberry Scholarship Pageant and co-chair of Pender County Long Term Recovery Group, which formed after Hurricane Florence in 2018.
“I have no doubt she will do a wonderful job, and I look forward to working with her in her new position as tourism director,” Pender County Manager David Andrews said in a press release. “After working with Mrs. Dawson as tourism assistant and mayor of Burgaw, I know she is the most talented and dedicated person for the position.”
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