December 23, 2013
Looking forward to spending more time with family, Emory Lencke announced today that he plans to retire after serving the past 12 years as Visit Hendricks County’s Executive Director.
“Retirement is something I had been considering the past few years,” he said. “So when health issues interrupted this year for me beginning in August, it made me stop and realize the Good Lord was telling me to slow down, reprioritize and reinvest in my family, including my six beautiful grandchildren.”
Lencke joined Visit Hendricks County, formerly the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in October 2001 after previously serving as the Executive Director of the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce.
In just 12 years, Lencke was able to lead Hendricks County into a period of unprecedented tourism growth by increasing innkeeper’s tax revenues resulting in visitor spending rising to more than $219 million annually (Certec Inc., 2011).
“It truly became a way of life for me,” Lencke said. “I often joke that I was paid money to see smiles on visitor’s faces as they enjoyed our wonderful attractions. But the best part has been the number of people I’ve worked with over the years who truly care about this community including our tourism industry partners, our great staff and everyone who has served on the Tourism Commission.”
In 2005, Lencke spearheaded an effort to increase tax collections from 5 to 8 percent per room, which allows Hendricks County to share the innkeeper’s tax collections with the county to be used for the development of a county park, a county fairgrounds or a county promotion. That increased tax has raised more than $2 million in additional revenue that has been utilized by the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and the Hendricks County Parks & Recreation Department.
With the additional revenue, Lencke also secured 18 acres of land in Plainfield for further tourism development. This land remains in the ownership of the Hendricks County Tourism Commission, and the group continues to work to develop this property into a viable tourism product, such as a conference center.
“We’ve been fortunate to have had such a wonderful leader for tourism not only in our county, but across the state these past several years,” said Lance Angle, President-Elect of the Hendricks County Tourism Commission. “Emory certainly did great things for not only the Commission, but our entire community has benefitted from his tenure in ways beyond measure.”
Lencke’s retirement will be effective Dec. 31, 2013, but he will serve in a consulting role through January to assist with the transition. Jaime Bohler Smith will continue to serve as the Interim Executive Director during the transition, having previously served as the Associate Director since 2002.