Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed Kevin Triplett, vice president of public affairs for Bristol Motor Speedway, as the new commissioner of the Department of Tourist Development.
Triplett, 49, of Bristol, Tenn., has been with Bristol Motor Speedway since 2005. He worked in various positions in NASCAR since 1992, ultimately serving as managing director of business operations, guiding the operation and administration of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, and Camping World Truck Series.
“Tourism is one of our state’s largest industries, providing $16.7 billion in direct economic impact, and Kevin brings a lot of energy and passion to the industry with decades of experience pulling together different stakeholders and constituencies,” Haslam said. “I appreciate his willingness to serve, and I look forward to working with him to continue building on Tennessee’s globally-recognized brand.”
Triplett has served on the boards of a number of community organizations including Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Bristol Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rotary Club of Bristol, ETSU at Bristol Advisory Council, Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association, and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He is a farmer and member of the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association.
Starting April 23, 2015, Triplett will replace Susan Whitaker, who held the position for twelve years.
“The destinations, arts and entertainment, history and beauty from Mountain City to Memphis is incredible. The wealth of knowledge that exists in the tourism industry throughout the state is a gold mine, and it is a privilege to work with those folks,” Triplett said. “I am honored Governor Haslam has given me this opportunity and thank Commissioner Whitaker for the path she has paved the last 12 years. I look forward to getting to work.”
“As the united voice of the entire Tennessee hospitality and tourism industry, we welcome Commissioner Triplett and look forward to working with him in the days ahead,” said Ken Maples, chairman of the Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association. “We have always enjoyed a very good and very strong relationship with the Department, and we are confident that that will continue under Commissioner Triplett’s leadership.”
The Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association, whose members include lodging, restaurant, convention & visitor bureaus, and attractions in the state, partners with the Department of Tourism Development for initiatives throughout the year, including the annual Tennessee Governor’s Conference on Hospitality and Tourism.
Haslam also named Sande Weiss co-chair of the Tennessee Tourism Committee he established in 2011. Weiss is president and CEO of Music Road Hospitality, which operates the Music Road Hotel, Music Road Inn and the Music Road Convention Center in Pigeon Forge.