Bagby: VCC’s first impression

Published 10:09 am Monday, June 26, 2017

For many people, their first experience with the Vicksburg Convention Center begins with a cheery voice answering the phone.

“Vicksburg Convention Center, this is Sue.”

For the past 10 years, Sue Bagby has been the first person people encounter when they either call or visit the convention center’s administrative offices.

“My title is sales coordinator,” she said. “Elyce Curry is the sales manager. When she books an event, I take it over and issue the contract, do all the follow-up and make sure all the paperwork is in on that side. But basically, in a nutshell, I feel like I’m a traffic coordinator. I’m the first person people see when they are looking for directions.”

She is also the special events coordinator and the coordinator for the convention center’s Veterans Day program, and its annual Breakfast with Santa and helps out with other services such as having badges or signs printed for conventions. “It’s just a customer service thing; whatever they need to make their event go good,” she said.

She also works the convention center’s box office, handling event tickets.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, Bagby came to Vicksburg in 1970 with her family and graduated from Warren Central High School.

She worked in banking for 14 years, worked for the Warren County Port Commission, was campaign director for United Way of West Central Mississippi for 10 years and worked with the Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce as its bookkeeper and organizing its membership drive before coming to the convention center.

“I was asked to come to the Convention Center and see if I would like to give it a shot, and it just sounded like a heck of a lot of fun,” she said. “It was kind of up my alley. I had worked for the public for so many years that it just seemed like a good fit. I do not regret it at all.

“I think the most favorite part of my job is that no two days are alike. You have different people every day, different kinds of things going on. You just take care of whatever comes up. It’s not an assembly line.

“Probably the biggest advantage that I have is this is a great staff to work with. Everybody knows what they have to do, there’s good communication. We mesh well. We’re not alike, but we mesh well.”

Bagby said the special events are her busiest times at the center, but added, “Anytime there are clients in the building, that is our ‘A-No. 1’ priority for that day. Of course, everybody has different roles with that, but if you have 500 people in the building, there’s constant (activity). I call my desk ‘the desk of constant interruption,’ but that’s good, because we’re here to make sure their event goes well, and we drop everything to make that happen.”

Special events, she said are a different activity because they have to be organized from the start, making sure everything is set up properly and the public is aware of the event.

“With Breakfast with Santa, there’s a lot of moving parts with that,” she said. “Usually, it’s around the same time as the caroling contest, so there’s a caroling contest one night and Breakfast with Santa the next morning. So there’s a lot of coordination with operations on that end.”

The Veterans Day program, she said, is a different thing.

“We’ve gotten that down. There’s a volunteer committee to help me with that. There are veterans who come together. We meet almost every month starting in May to start planning the event. We raise money to put the event on; that one goes pretty smoothly. I like it, because it’s our way of giving back to the veterans for their service.”

Working for the public, she said, has been fun.

“I always like to welcome people like I’m welcoming them into my home,” she said. “If I don’t have the answer, I’ll try and get it for them. I just keep on keeping on.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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