Lyle tapped as Warren County Welcome Center head

Published 2:00 am Sunday, February 5, 2012

B.J. Lyle hopes childhood memories of Vicksburg help her promote tourism and visitorship in her new gig at the Mississippi Welcome Center.

“My uncle would bring me with him all the time to Vicksburg,” said Lyle, 48, supervisor of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Warren County Welcome Center, which overlooks the Mississippi River bridges.

“One of my fondest memories as a child is being in Vicksburg National Military Park leaning on a monument,” Lyle said.

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Lyle began Jan. 23 at the center, said Jennifer Spann, a spokeswoman for MDA’s Tourism Division, which staffs the state’s 13 welcome centers. The state’s individual welcome center buildings are owned and maintained by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

Including Lyle, the local staff is two, Spann said. Ten people worked there two years ago. A travel counselor post is advertised on the state’s job website, Spann said.

A worker’s compensation claims agent for eight years for Irvine, Calif.-based CorVel Corporation’s Jackson office, Lyle said she’ll bring customer service skills to the job from a previous career as a flight attendant for American Airlines, and, previously, now-defunct Eastern Airlines. “It’s about the customers,” she said.

The 1981 Provine High School grad has one daughter, who attends fourth grade in the capital city.

Vicksburg’s welcome center opened in 1980 and was last renovated in 2005 to upgrade fixtures in the restrooms, replace cabinets and retouch paint. In 2010, the center closed for about two months while contractors replanted flower beds and installed benches and an irrigation system. The $74,534 job was funded by the federal stimulus.