Kim Bumpas President
Kim Bumpas is a national and regional leader with strong hospitality experience and nearly two decades of experience in senior management, sales and marketing. A community leader and volunteer, Bumpas serves as a tourism leader for East Tennessee and the Knoxville community. At Visit Knoxville, Bumpas is focused on promoting Knoxville as a travel destination for leisure travelers and conventions. Bumpas serves as a liaison for Visit Knoxville with the Knoxville Convention Center (KCC), City of Knoxville (COK), Knox County and Knoxville venues/properties. Her teams within Visit Knoxville solicit conventions for Knoxville, secure all marketing placement for the City/County of Knoxville and then service the conventions upon entering Knoxville to make sure the experience lives up to what is sold. Bumpas is a 1994 graduate from the University of Tennessee Knoxville with a degree in Marketing. Her hospitality career began in college at the Holiday Inn Cedar Bluff. Upon graduation, she transitioned into operations and sales with the Holiday Inn Select Downtown and the Hyatt Knoxville before moving to the next level of destination sales. Employed by the Knoxville Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Visit Knoxville) since 2001, she has advanced from Sales Manager to Director of Sales to Vice President of Sales to Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing and is currently President. With over 20 years’ experience in hotels, venues and destination marketing, Bumpas earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Classification in 2003. In 2008, Bumpas spearheaded Visit Knoxville’s accreditation with the Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI) - Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP). In 2011, Bumpas completed DMAI’s elite certification of Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME). This distinction is awarded based on coursework completed at the national level over a period of three years. Bumpas is one of only two candidates in the state of Tennessee to achieve this honor. Bumpas says her favorite accomplishments to date include forming the VK Sports Commission and hosting the largest BASSMASTER Classic in history as of 2019, founding the VK Film Office and meeting the one and only Burt Reynolds, and bringing Garth Brooks’ Stadium Tour to Knoxville and singing “I've got friends in low places” with tens of thousands of fans in Neyland Stadium. Bumpas loves to be outside and spending time with her family and two dogs. Bumpas’ appointments and awards include: East Tennessee Meeting Professional (ETMP) – Supplier of the Year and Secretary; Rotary Club of Knoxville; Tennessee Society of Association Executives (TSAE) – Board Member; Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Classification - 2003; 40 Under Forty – Class of 2008; Facilitated accreditation with the Destination Marketing Association International’s (DMAI) Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) – 2008; Introduction Knoxville – Class of 2010; Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) - 2011; Tennessee Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau (TACVB) - Board Member (2011-2014) and FYE14 Chair; Leadership Knoxville – Class of 2012; Tennessee Tourism Committee (TTC) (appointed by the Governor, 2012-current) and Chair of the TTC Knowledge Driven Sub-Committee (2017-current); Formed the Visit Knoxville Film Office - 2013/2014; Destinations International, formerly known as Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) Speaker and Education Committee Member (2014-current); Hospitality TN (formally known as Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association) – 2014-2019); Executive Women’s Association (EWA) - 2015; East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association – Class of 2015; Destination Marketing Association of the Year - 2016; Formed the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission - 2016; Ijams Nature Center - Board Member and FYE16 & FYE17 Chair; Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association’s (GKHA) Women in Hospitality & Tourism of the Year award - 2017; Tennessee Theatre Board Member (2017-current); University of Tennessee Chancellors Associates Program – Class of 2018; Knoxville Public Arts Committee (Mayor appointment 2019-2021, 2021-2023) and other various committees.
Angie Wilson Senior Director of Marketing
Angie Wilson is the Senior Director of Marketing. A Knoxville native, Wilson earned a BS in Communications from the University of Tennessee and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications. Prior to joining the team at Visit Knoxville, Wilson served as Communications Director at Asen Marketing and Creative Director at what is now Cumulus Radio Knoxville. Wilson enjoys contributing her creative marketing concepts to help promote travel and tourism in the city she loves.
Kelli Gibson, CMP Senior Director of Convention Services
Gibson began her stint at Visit Knoxville in 2007 as Director of Event Operations. A Greeneville, TN native, she graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a concentration in Sport Management and a Master’s of Science in Sport Administration. Prior to joining Visit Knoxville, Gibson served as the Assistant Manager of the Tennessee Theatre, Event Operations Manager at the Greater Louisville Sports Commission and as Program & Media Relations Coordinator at the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission. Gibson enjoys showcasing Knoxville by creating unique experiences for planners and convention attendees.
Chad Culver Senior Director of Sports Commission & Convention Sales
Culver is a Chattanooga native with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management from The University of Tennessee. He has over 22 years of experience in the sports industry in recruiting and managing events. Prior to Visit Knoxville, Culver was employed by Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau where he served as Director of Sports Marketing. Culver also served on staff with the University of Tennessee Athletics Department from 2001-2005.
Shera Petty Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships
Shera Swanson Petty earned a BS in Business Administration with a Major in Marketing from the University of Tennessee. Shera has been with Visit Knoxville since 2014. Prior to that she was Senior Media Consultant for E.W.Scripps company and was Senior Cosmetic Buyer for Saks Inc/Proffitts. Shera builds on her long standing relationships with members of the Community to connect local business and organizations with ways they can partner with Visit Knoxville to promote themselves to visitors, groups and the local community.
Nicole Merlino Senior Director of Finance & Administration
Nicole Merlino hails from DeWitt, Michigan. Upon finishing High School Merlino enlisted in the United States Army and served for 6 years, including two combat tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Following her time in service Merlino went on to earn degrees in Health Care Administration, Human Resource Management, and Business. Prior to joining the Visit Knoxville Team, Merlino was employed by the Geary County Health Department in Kansas, where she served as the Community Health Planner and then Accountant. Most recently Merlino lived in Louisiana and served as the Director of Finance & Human Resources at the City of Leesville for the last 6 years. Merlino relocated to Knoxville in 2022 and plans to make it her forever home.
Monica Armstrong Senior Director of Visitor and Retail Services
Monica Armstrong is the Senior Director of Visitor and Retail Services. A Knoxville native, she graduated from the University of Tennessee earning a B.S. in Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Management alongside double minors in Business Administration and Consumer Sciences. Prior to joining Visit Knoxville, Armstrong worked as an Adventure Coordinator at Relais and Chateaux Resort, Blackberry Mountain, and for local restaurant groups Spaces in the City and Copper Cellar Corporation. Armstrong enjoys curating visitor experiences by showcasing Knoxville’s abundant offerings and highlighting what makes her hometown unique.