Paula Vann is the executive director of the Columbia County Tourist Development Council and Florida’s Suwannee River Valley Marketing Group. Vann oversees the strategic direction of the sales and marketing arm of the county, and represents Columbia County at the local, state, and national level as the county’s public relations chief. With a team of four, the Columbia County Tourist Development Council manages all sales, advertising and promotion for Columbia County, Florida’s Suwannee River Valley (tri-county marketing initiative) and the Columbia County Sports Commission.
Prior to taking on the executive director role, Vann was a seasoned sales and marketing executive with over a decade of progressive business development, marketing and consulting experience, which generated over $25 million in sales. She spent a majority of her career working in the corporate interior design and furniture industry as an account executive. Additionally, she spent time in the non-profit sector as a marketing specialist and community liaison for thirteen north Florida counties.
A Nashville, Tennessee native, Vann has lived, worked and played in Lake City, Florida since 2006. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and received her M.B.A. from the University of Florida. She enjoys hiking, shopping, sporting events, volunteering in the community and spending time with her husband, three children and Lucky the Golden Retriever.
Cody, a native of the Lake City-Columbia County area, came to work at the Columbia County Tourist Development in late 2013. Since his time here he has worked, in conjunction with the Executive Director, to structure and enhance the marketing program of Columbia County and bring on brand new Initiatives and campaigns. Cody is also a very community involved individual with a strong desire to showcase this wonderful area of Florida to both visitors and local residents alike. He also serves on various boards in the community and is involved in many local events, including Columbia County’s largest event the Olustee Battle Festival and Reenactment. Through his community work Cody received the 2014 Emerging Leader award from the Florida Festival and Events Association. Cody also serves as the Assistant Public Information Officer for Columbia County Emergency Management. When Cody is not hard at work he enjoys exploring the outdoors through kayaking, hiking, fishing and many other outdoor activities. He is also an avid Civil War living historian and accomplished pianist.
Michelle, a native of Lake City, Florida, graduated from Columbia High School in 1998. She came to work at the Columbia County Tourist Development in May of 2015 where she currently serves as the Secretary Specialist (Administrative Assistant). She provides visitors with information on the area, and distributes brochures to all of the local hotels and camp grounds, as well as maintains the Tourist Development office. Michelle plays an important role in the day to day operations of the Tourist Development Council through her dedication and love for Columbia County. She comes from a very loving and wonderful family who are lifelong residents of Lake City. Michelle has two daughters and lives on a small farm in Columbia County with her family. Some of her hobbies include reading books, gardening, hunting, and farming. Her favorite thing to do is spending time with her girls.
Stay and explore Columbia County, Florida, with scrumptious places to eat and plenty of sports and events to keep you entertained. It's a great place for your next vacation, no matter what time of year!
If you're looking for things to do, the Columbia County seat, Lake City, has many activities for the whole family. Catch a flick at the six-screen movie theater or see a show at the college's theater. Take to the courts or the links at one of its 32 ball fields, seven soccer fields, tennis courts, two semi-private golf courses or eight racquetball courts. If you're all about nature, take a hike or snap some wildlife photos at one of the nine state parks in the area or one of the six local parks. If your outdoor adventure includes staying overnight, you can rest at one of 10 campgrounds or opt for a real bed in one of the many local hotels. You'll also find, a bowling alley, a swimming pool, fishing, hunting and a lot of water sports.
One of the premier activities in Columbia County is at Ichetucknee Springs State Park where adventure seekers love tubing down the Ichetucknee River. Park visitors also can enjoy picnicking, swimming, hiking, snorkeling, canoeing and viewing local wildlife year-round because of the park's mild spring-like temperatures. You can visit the Ichetucknee River Visitor Center to learn about the springs through activities for the whole family.
Want to learn a bit of history on your visit to Florida's Gateway? Plan a trip to the Lake City-Columbia County Historical Museum located in an 1870s house in Lake City. Each room in the two-story home presents a different era of history and lets you get close and personal to an extensive collection of relics and priceless heirlooms.
The Columbia County Tourist Development Council promotes local hotels, restaurants, attractions and things to do in and around Columbia County to show visitors everything there is to enjoy in this special part of the great state of Florida. Now that you know some of numerous reasons why everyone should come visit, request additional information about Lake City and the surrounding Columbia County area by completing our form below, or feel free to contact us: