Madisonville hires new tourism director

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Laura Lawrenz began work as Madisonville’s director of marketing and tourism last week and already has a full calendar.

Lawrenz, who has “always worked in sales and marketing,” became aware of the job when former tourism director Camilla Viator accepted a position as Madisonville’s city manager. Lawrenz and her husband David knew the Viators because they sold their business LFI Postal and Copy Center to Camilla and her husband Brent in 2014.

“Once I heard she became city manager, I asked her to consider me,” Lawrenz said. “I thought it would be a new venture.”

It doesn’t hurt that her boss knows the job pretty well.

“I draw upon Camilla’s expertise every day,” Lawrenz said. “I will be 90 percent independent but I do rely on her a lot to mentor me and push me in the right direction.”

Lawrenz began working at age 13 and worked her way up, ultimately doing sales and marketing for an architecture firm. She later did insurance sales and marketing.

“I came to realize you’re going to get so many no’s before you get a yes,” she said.

Lawrenz has been involved in the Texas Mushroom Festival since 2012 and most of the events she now attends as tourism director – such as Friday night’s Shop & Stroll on the square – she would have attended anyway.

“What I like about Madisonville is the small-town feel,” Lawrenz said. “It’s very quaint and unique. There’s a friendliness. It feels like Mayberry.”

She’s already exploring ideas such as a 5K color run, bicycling event and wine tasting.

Lawrenz and her husband blended their families and together have four sons and two grandchildren. Lawrenz’s stepson, Jonathan Lawrenz, is a K-9 officer with Madisonville Police Department, and his twin brother Jason works for the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

The new tourism director said she’s looking forward to “digging in” to the job and proposing new ideas.

“I’m looking for this to be a long-term position,” she said. “The stars aligned.”

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