Business 101 | Jim Epperson

screen-shot-2018-10-08-at-9-53-46-amJim Epperson

Executive Director

SoIN Tourism


“A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders.”


Boards, volunteer or community work:

Indiana Tourism Association – Government Affairs Co-Chair & Board of Directors; Destinations International – Advocacy Committee; One Southern Indiana, Board of Directors; IU Southeast Chancellor’s Medallion Committee; Rotary Club of New Albany – Community Toast Committee; Falls of the Ohio Foundation – Community Leadership Council.


In terms of growth and economic development, where would you like to see Southern Indiana in 10 years?

Southern Indiana has amazing potential, and we are seeing little bits of it achieved every day with new businesses, new residents and improvements to our quality of place. I often hold up northern Kentucky (Covington & Newport and the greater three-county area) as an example of potential realized and where we can be in the future. Their growth is not without mistakes from which we can learn.


Our growth needs to foster success for even more local, independent business that has rejuvenated our downtowns. The authenticity of local is vital to help us carve out our own niche within the collection of Louisville “neighborhoods.”


A requirement for us to be a competitive community is greater common vision among elected leaders and communication across borders. Our most transformative projects are going to be regional and will require that kind of cooperation.


Who or what motivates you?

In destination marketing, we work to bring visitors to town who spend money here. What they spend here supports jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors and beyond. That person who has a job in hospitality because of the people we bring to town is my motivation. Hospitality provides a path regardless of degree; our industry provides a second income on a flexible schedule for the household so that childcare is easier; almost all businesses in the sector are small and entrepreneurial; and our industry provides most peoples’ first jobs, training them for a career of contribution.


What habits/routines have helped with your success?

I am a proponent of ongoing professional development for me and our team. Attending conferences and workshops, sharing with colleagues from around the state or country, refreshes and refocuses us by getting us out of our daily routine. Time away allows us to think about how to bring that next cutting-edge idea back home and put it to work.


What pushes you through your most difficult times?

Knowing that I can retreat to important things like faith and family combined with a network of incredible colleagues who have been there, done that, gets me through the rough patches.


What are you most proud of professionally?

Having been able to explore my profession in different places but ending up back in my hometown and being able to contribute to our common success.

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