The Communications Committee had an energetic meeting on February 27, 2024. Topics of discussion included introductions of committee members and staff, eclipse event planning and sales of eclipse t-shirts, the resignation of Pam Avila at the end of April, the promotion of Mindy Maxwell, an update from Kelly Hale, General Manager, Stay and Play packages, and much more.

Committee Members attending: Chair Mark Smith; Steve Korotash, Secretary; Susan McCarty; Jim Rice; Patricia Chandler-Faust; Sandy Spellman; ex officio Member Chuck Miller.

Board Director and Committee Liaison Gary Belair and Golf Committee Liaison Okey Bess were present.

Staff present: Kelly Hale, General Manager; Pam Avila, Committee Liaison and Communications/Revenue Growth Specialist; Kevin Sexton, Director of Business Development, Governmental Affairs and Land; Mindy Maxwell, Executive Assistant to the GM.

Smith introduced two recent additions to the committee

Susan McCarty – McCarty, a twelve year resident has been involved with the Ouachita Speaker Series since 2014 and is currently the President. She is a Rotary Club member and belongs to the Human Trafficking Task Force of Garland County. A graphic designer and photographer, McCarty has worked with the Miss Mississippi Corporation as a photographer during the competition weeks.

Sandy Spellman – The newest Committee Member, Spellman, comes to us from California, where she resided in the Riverside area for 20 years. She lived in Maui for around five years and in Oregon for a few years. Spellman has 35 plus years experience in sales, and marketing management. She said, “I love social media – anything to do with that aspect of it, I’m pretty good at.” Spellman shared that she was excited to be on the committee.

Chair Smith said he and Pam Avila were impressed with Spellman’s in-depth knowledge of digital marketing.

Other Committee Members

Jim Rice has been a long-time property owner and a resident of HSV since 2021. He said he spent most of his adult life working at the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he is Senior Vice President of Operations. He said he has known Kevin Sexton for many years, who with Pam Avila requested he join the committee. Rice said he enjoys serving on the committee.

Steve Korotash has lived in the Village for five or six months. He was previously a newspaper reporter, editor and worked in public relations.

Korotash is the committee secretary and has been taking the minutes for the committee.

Patricia Chandler-Faust works full-time as a Regional Sales Director for MCC Brokerage in the Medicare industry.  Hundreds of agents from Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee are working with her.     

With a 30-year marketing and advertising career in Memphis, Chandler-Faust has worked extensively in tourism, hotels, and casinos. She brings to the committee an understanding of residential development and POAs. Chandler-Faust said she thinks creatively and does not fit in the box.

Chuck Miller, a 75-year California resident, has a sales and marketing background in the food service industry. He said he has been working with golf. He said, “I love this place!”

Avila said that Miller is famous because of his incredible feat of two holes in one, in one day, on the same HSV course.

Okey Bess is working to fill the open tee times and increase golf revenue. “To do that, we need to market the Village to fill up some of the open golf spots,” said Bess.

2024 eclipse poster and t-shirts

McCarty has been working on designing a poster and t-shirts for the 2024 eclipse. McCarty said several people have requested to buy posters. She obtained t-shirt prices and said they needed to be ordered soon.

McCarty is also working to schedule NASA speakers for the Eclipse weekend. She thinks three NASA scientists may present at the Woodlands Auditorium on Friday, April 5. The Ouachita Speaker Series will sponsor this event. (As this event has not been fully arranged, details are not set in stone.)

Kelly Hale said he is in favor of selling t-shirts. Avila said if we offer pre-orders, we must deliver the t-shirts. “The logistics is the tricky part,” explained Avila. It was decided to order 500 t-shirts, which will be sold at various events and places. Hale said he was not looking for a big profit margin but wanted to break even and provide this as a service to the community. Avila said the price of the shirt needs to include tax and be an even number.

Kevin Sexton

A life-long Arkansan and six and a half year tenured POA employee, Sexton said he first golfed in the Village in 1988. Previously he worked in Arkansas State Government with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and serving as the Chief Community Devloper in Economic Development. He sells POA-owned lots and works on many other projects. Sexton is the Staff Liaison for the Governmental Affairs Committee. Sexton has represented the Village in several cities in the past six weeks – Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and three consecutive golf shows in St. Louis. He said he spends time discussing Stay and Play packages, but everyone also wants to discuss discovery and retirement in the Village. “I love this place. I love selling Hot Springs Village and pride myself on promoting the community!” exclaimed the Director.

Changes in staff – promotion of Mindy Maxwell

Hale said the GM Executive Assistant, Mindy Maxwell, will be stepping into Pam Avila’s position. Maxwell’s new title will be Business Development and Client Relations Manager, and she will work with Kevin Sexton. Hale said the two would coordinate with Avila during the transition.

Recently relocating to the Village from Las Vegas, where she was born and raised, Maxwell has a diverse marketing, sales, entertainment, and hospitality background. She spent 17 years with Mandalay Resort and Casino, working her way into several positions from Reservations to Conventions and Director of Entertainment. She transitioned to Constellation Brands, a premium beer, wine, and spirits distributor, managing sales and assisting distributors with the beer division. Maxwell ran the on-premise advertising signs for Nevada for seven years.

Maxwell’s husband is a police officer for Hot Springs Village. Her mother relocated with the couple and wants to get more involved in the community.

Maxwell said, “I am interested in getting my feet into business development and helping with marketing and communications.”

Hale thanked Avila for her invaluable and outstanding work with the POA. He said she would be traveling and spending time with her children.

Kelly Hale

Retired 37-year UPS employee, Hale was a Vice President of UPS Operations. Hale said he came right into the POA General Manager job and never retired. “As a Property Owner, I am doing this job because I did not like what I saw. I felt we could do better!” enthused Hale. He said his expectations have been exceeded, and things are going well because of all the folks helping out.

Golf Update at Isabella

The GM said Santa Maria was slated to officially open to the public last Saturday, March 2, 2024. Pinta is three or four weeks away from opening. Isabella should be back on course by the end of April “as long as Mother Nature plays nice.” He said the project – drainage and bunkers – is proceeding nicely. The Isabella projects were long overdue.

“We do want to constantly remind our community, when we talk about infrastructure, the golf courses are infrastructure. They are a huge part of our community and if we ever lost one, it would cost millions upon millions of dollars to get it back up and goiing.”

Kelly Hale, HSVPOA General Manager

Hale said that some of his team members, General Lofgren, and Keith Keck went to Little Rock on Friday, February 23 to meet with Wes Warden, Secretary of Agriculture. The topic of discussion was HSV water and sewer bonding and grants.

Stay and Play

Avila said they want to capture the names of all participants in the Stay and Play (not just the names of the group leaders.) A form has been created, but still needs a data base. The form needs to be uploaded to the front of the Explore the Village website. The Golf Department needs to tell the Stay and Play group leaders to go on the website and fill out the form. This will help with gate entry. Currently, only one contact person is listed, but there could be 20 or more people in the Stay and Play group.

Avila said we also need a way for Members to register their guests for the Friends and Family Program who might be interested in relocating to the Village. This will result in the Villager receiving an award when a friend or family member moves here.

Rice is developing a Stay and Play package to pass out to the visitors. This may be done digitally. Maxwell suggested an incentive coupon for a restaurant might be good to include. Rice said the package must include a map, a restaurant guide, and other information.

In 2024, over 900 Stay and Play groups came into the Village, with the biggest group having 80 people.

The challenge is determining how the Golf Department can assist with this project.

The KATV project is tabled for now

Sexton reported that the KATV project is deferred at this time. “We are certainly not going to say no at this point,” explained Sexton. We need to ensure all the golf courses are at their peak.

Miller update on committee projects

Golf Box – Miller talked about a golf box marketing tool. This small box contains three golf balls and a card inviting four people to play a complimentary round of golf in HSV after 1 p.m. The box’s value is $300, and distribution will be focused on service organizations in the surrounding areas. Miller said he is concentrating on Lions, Rotary, and Kiwanis Clubs. Miller said when a group arrives, a Village ambassador should meet them.

Communications Committee Coordinates Eclipse Events More Chuck Miller
Chuck Miller presents the golf promo box to the committee.

Golf writers – Chuck also indicated that he is continuing to work on attracting golf/sports writers from the Houston area to visit the village to play golf.

Restaurants – Miller will visit the HSV restaurants. The 2024 solar eclipse is a big deal. It will be a big weekend, filled with activities. Miller said we want the restaurants to stay open during the extended weekend. Some HSV restaurants are typically closed on Sunday and Monday. He will also stress that they have enough supplies on hand.

KVRE live broadcast

Miller is working with KVRE to obtain a live broadcast at the Balboa Beach Pavilion on the eclipse weekend. Chandler-Faust agreed to assist with this task. It is not known at this article’s publication date whether this event will transpire.)

Tentative 2024 solar eclipse weekend schedule

The following list does not contain many details on the extended weekend solar eclipse events. Stay tuned for more information.

Friday, April 5

Lions Bingo

NASA Solar Eclipse Presentation

Saturday, April 6

Miniature Golf Tournament – Optimist Club

BBQ Dinner – Kiwanis

Free Concert – Colts 45s at the Woodlands Auditorium. You may bring a chair and sit outside under the Porte Cochere. There are plans to open the bar inside and outside. (See flyer below.)

Food Service at Concert

Food Service at Balboa Beach

Sunday, April 7

18 Hole Golf Tournament with prizes

Diamante Eclipse Expo

Food Service at Balboa Beach

HSV Rotary will sell hot dogs at Balboa Beach on April 7 and 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or sold out. Please stop by and enjoy a great dog and cold water.

Lighted Boat Parade – Lake Balboa

Realtors Event – Board of Realtors at Grove Park

Monday, April 8

Food Service at Balboa Beach

HSV Rotary will sell hot dogs at Balboa Beach on April 7 and 8 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or sold out. Please stop by and enjoy a great dog and cold water.

Six eclipse viewing locations (Parking Lots): Balboa Baptist, Christ of the Hills, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Balboa Beach, Woodlands, Village Church of Christ

The next Communication Committee Meeting is scheduled for March 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the Coronado Community Center.

Communication Committee Coordinates Eclipse Events and More Colt old 45 flyer

By Cheryl Dowden

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