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TTS Team

Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports (TTS) is a 501 c(6) non-profit organization funded by the City of Tuscaloosa, the Tuscaloosa County Commission, and various fund raising efforts. The primary purpose of TTS is to enhance economic development through destination promotion. Destination promotion drives economic development in four ways: attracting strategic events, raising the destination profile, building transport networks, and raising the quality of life of residents.

The primary measure for judging the success of TTS is the amount of lodging tax generated in the Tuscaloosa area. Lodging taxes are paid by individuals spending the night in hotels. Therefore, the tax we look to increase is paid by visitors to our area, not our local hotels nor most of the citizens that live here every day. Thus, as we increase the amount of lodging tax collected, we help to relieve a portion of the tax burden our citizens must pay to enjoy the services offered by our government. The economic impact our agency has on the community is significant. Tax dollars generated by tourism produce tax savings for each household. To be specific, without the taxes produced by tourism, each household would have to pay $1,452 more in taxes each year to maintain services currently offered by the government.

TTS Team

TTS is governed by a board of outstanding community leaders who willingly commit their time to nurture our efforts to be an economic development driver for the Tuscaloosa/Tuscaloosa County area.

Team Members

  • Loretta Jones

    Loretta Jones

    Accounting & Office Manager

    Loretta Jones is the Accounting & Office Manager for TTS. A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she is a 2014 graduate of The University of Alabama with a major in Accounting. Roll Tide! While a student at UA, Loretta worked at The University of Alabama Department of Student Affairs as a residential advisor. She worked on numerous events for Culverhouse College of Commerce, serving as the Vice President for National Association of Black Accountants. After graduation, Loretta worked as an accountant for a biodiesel company.

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  • Bill Buchanan

    Bill Buchanan

    Director of Tourism Development

    Before being named Director of Tourism Development for Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, Bill spent 40 years in the newspaper business in various capacities, including publisher and owner. A 1976 graduate of The University of Alabama, Bill and his wife, Ava, returned to Tuscaloosa in 1992. He has been an active volunteer in the community, serving on the boards of Theatre Tuscaloosa and Kentuck. He is also a member of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, as well as a literacy volunteer at Central Primary through the Adopt-A-School program.

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  • Jay Kasten

    Jay Kasten

    Director of Sports

    With over 8 years of experience in the sports industry, Kasten has lead in many different roles including event management, marketing and sales. Kasten cut his teeth in the sports industry in the hospitality & ticket sales department of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2008, he moved to Birmingham, AL to work for Bruno Event Team, LLC. where he worked with a wide variety of national sport governing bodies, including the NCAA and SEC. Kasten became familiar with the Tuscaloosa area when he was the Senior Operations Director for the Bruno Event Team. He was not only responsible for Gameday traffic, parking and tailgating, but he also led the charge on utilizing social media for live updates as well as spearheading the creation of the Gameday severe weather plan.

    As a member of the Zoom Motorsports team, Kasten was a key member of the team that recruited the Indy Racing League to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL to host the annual Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Kasten was also influential in the execution of multiple USGA, LPGA, and PGA Champions Tour golf tournaments. He holds two degrees, one from the University of Kansas – a B.S. in Sports Management, and one from the University of Alabama in Birmingham – a Masters of Business Administration. Kasten married his wife, Kammie Kasten in June of 2013.

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  • Jasmine Rainey

    Jasmine Rainey

    Associate Director of Visitor Services and Tourism Development

    Mrs. Rainey began her career as a front desk associate at Days Inn in 2011 after graduating from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University. She furthered her career in the hospitality industry at the Home-Towne Suites in Tuscaloosa as the guest service representative and worked her way up to be their sales manager. Following she worked as the director of sales (and marketing) at Wingate and LBA Hospitality.

    More recently, Mrs. Rainey has been working as the director of sales at Vista Host Hotels (Home2), establishing her experience in the Tuscaloosa area. Mrs. Rainey also served on the Board of Directors for Temporary Emergency Services in 2015 and as an Ambassador for the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce for five years. Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, she is married to Paul and they share three children together, Elijah, Fayth, and Carter. Suitably she enjoys traveling in her free time and cheers for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

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  • Sarah Elizabeth Heggem

    Sarah Elizabeth Heggem

    Event Operations Manager

    Sarah Elizabeth Heggem joined the Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports team in July 2015 has the Event Operations Manager. A native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she is a 2014 graduate of The University of Alabama with a major in business. While a student at UA, Sarah worked in The University of Alabama Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. She worked on numerous events on campus including, serving as the recruitment director for UA Panhellenic Recruitment. After graduation, Sarah moved to New York to work for a pharmaceutical advertising agency for a year.

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  • Barrett Elder

    Barrett Elder

    Digital Media Specialist

    Barrett Elder is the Digital Media Specialist for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports (TTS). After interning with TTS in the Summer and Fall of 2016, he was hired on to be a full-time member of the team. Barrett graduated from the University of Alabama in December of 2016 with a degree in Marketing. Roll Tide! While at the University, Barrett and spent much of his college career on the drumline with the Million Dollar Band and with the Avanti Orientation Team.

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Board of Directors

  • Lesley Bruinton

    Lesley Bruinton

    Chairwoman I Public Relations Coordinator

    Lesley Bruinton is the public relations coordinator for the Tuscaloosa City Schools where she oversees internal and external communications for a system of more than 10,000 students and 1,300 employees. As a former television reporter who consistently integrates traditional and new media, she works to keep active communication between parents, teachers, students and community stakeholders within the school system. Bruinton earned the Accreditation in Public Relations in December 2013. Professionals using this designation demonstrate commitment to strategic and ethical practice of public relations. She has been honored for her public relations work at the state, regional and national levels. Bruinton was named a 2015-2016 NSPRA Front-Runner by the National School Public Relations Association. This distinction is given to four individuals each year, with each Front-Runner representing a different NSPRA Region. She was also named as one of NSPRA’s “35 Under 35” among school public relations practitioners in 2014.Lesley Bruinton currently serves as the Alabama School Public Relations Association (ALSPRA) president.

  • Toby Wilson

    Toby Wilson

    Past Chairman I President of Wilson Hospitality

    Born in New Mexico to the father of a oil and gas businessman and a mother who was an Episcopal Deacon, Toby grew up with a sense of hard work. At the age of 16 he began his first job bussing tables in Tuscaloosa. He then went on to enroll at The University of Alabama. After graduation, Toby became Assistant General Manager at Hampton Inn University. From there Toby held all kinds of jobs including Director of Sales and Marketing for Embassy Suites, Property Manager for the Microtel Inn in Tuscaloosa, and opening General Manager at Hampton Inn Interstate. At age 34 Toby received the Governor’s Award for Employer of the Year for Employing People with disabilities. Toby has served as Chairman for the Greater Tuscaloosa Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and is a Former Board of Directors Member of the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation. Toby has been married to Heather Wilson for 14 years and has three sons: Garrett Dan (11), Matthew Wynne (9), and Chase Alexander (7). Family time, reading, personal finance, fishing, dog training, hunting, and outdoor activities are personal interest of Toby’s.

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  • Gene

    Gene "Poogie" Poole

    Executive Committee I President of Hudson-Poole Fine Jewelers

    Gene Poole is president of Hudson-Poole Fine Jewelers. Founded in 1985, Hudson-Poole sells fine jewelry, fine gifts, and maintains a large bridal registry. Married to Jamie Bennert Poole, he and his wife have three children. Gene is retired from the U.S. Army as a Lt. Colonel. Gene has served as president of the DCH Hospital Foundation, Chairman of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, president of the Alabama Jewelers Association, one of the founders of Tuscaloosa Cityfest, and president of the Exchange Club of Tuscaloosa. Gene was selected Retailer of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association in2000, Jeweler of the Year by the 24 Karat Club of The Southeastern United States in 2008, and member of the year by the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce in 2003. Gene is a huge supporter of Hospice of West Alabama, Arts and Autism, Eagles Wings, Easter Seal, DCH Hospital, and the Tuscaloosa Symphony. For the city of Tuscaloosa, Gene has served on The Original City Commission, The Downtown Tuscaloosa Authority, The River Front Committee, the Our Great Lake Committee, and The Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission.

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  • Jimmy Warren

    Jimmy Warren

    Executive Committee I President of TotalCom Marketing Communications

    Jimmy Warren is President of TotalCom Marketing Communications, a full service advertising and branding agency with offices in Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. For more than 30 years, the company has had the privilege of telling the stories of some of the best healthcare, automotive, financial and retail organizations. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Jimmy is involved in numerous civic and community organizations. He is Immediate Past President of the Alabama National Alumni Association, Past Chair of the Council of Governors of the American Advertising federation, Past Chair of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and currently serves on the boards of the Tuscaloosa Public Library, the Bank of Tuscaloosa and is Chair-elect for Caring Days.

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  • Tracy Braggs, Sr.

    Tracy Braggs, Sr.

    Executive Committee I Logistics Coordinator - BROSE

    Mr. Tracy L. Braggs, Sr. was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is married to Latonya D. Braggs and they have three daughters, two sons and two grandchildren. Mr. Braggs was educated in the Tuscaloosa County Public School System, graduating from Hillcrest High School. He is a member of Friendship Baptist Church in Duncanville, Alabama where he serves on the Deacon Board. Mr. Braggs is employed at Brose in Vance, Alabama where he is the Logistics Coordinator. Mr. Braggs was a dedicated volunteer in coaching little league football for over 15 years. He is a compassionate supporter of children sports and their education. He works with Northridge High School Band Boosters and for the past 3 years he has served on the Tuscaloosa Sports & Tourism Board.

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  • Charles

    Charles "Chuck" Sittason

    Executive Committee I Retired Chairman of Regions Bank

    After graduating from Decatur High School in 1963, Charles went on to attend The University of Alabama in 1967. He began working for Community Bank and Trust in Hartsville in 1969. In 1978 he was transferred to Tuscaloosa as Sr. VP, became president in 1988, and then Chairman CWEO in 1996. Charles has served on theIndustrial Development Authority, Vice President for Chamber of Commerce, President of Red Elephant Club and President of North River Yacht Club. Charles founded the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation that merged with TTSC. Charles worked for Regions Bank for 35 years before retiring. He is married to Julie P. Sittason and has 3 daughters and 3 grandsons.

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  • Max Karrh

    Max Karrh

    Senior Vice President at Bryant Bank

    Max Karrh is a Senior Vice President at Bryant Bank and has been with the company for 10 years. He has a history in banking dating back to 1997 after graduating from the University of Alabama with a BS in Commerce and Business Administration that same year. Max has served on numerous boards in the community including American Christian Academy, The Tuscaloosa Children’s Center, The YMCA, Youth for Christ, The Home Builders Association of Tuscaloosa, and the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports. Max is often caught making everyone laugh with his witty jokes. He has a beautiful wife and 2 beautiful daughters.

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  • Dr. Kelvin W. Croom

    Dr. Kelvin W. Croom

    Senior Pastor - College Hill Baptish Church

    Dr. Kelvin W. Croom is the Senior Pastor of College Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Dr. Croom is a retired employee of the Tuscaloosa City Schools System. He earned his Bachelor’s, Master’s, Educational Specialist degree, and his Doctoral degree from The University of Alabama where he also played football under the late Paul DzBeardz Bryant. During his 31years of employment with the State of Alabama, Dr. Croom served 29 of those years with the Tuscaloosa City School District where he taught history, coached varsity football, served as an Attendance Supervisor, an Assistant Principal at Tuscaloosa Middle School, Central High School-East Campus, and the Paul W. Bryant High School. He served two years with the University of Alabama Crimson Tide Athletic Department as the Director of Football Student Athletes and the Director of Athletic Academics. Dr. Croom is currently on the Board of Directors for Tuscaloosa Habitat for Humanity and the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission. He is a past board member for the Young Men’s Christian Association, Tuscaloosa Forward, Tuscaloosa County Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the University of Alabama Athletic Department’s First & Ten Club. Dr. Croom has four children: Tamara (TAM-RAH) who is married to Erwin Dudley, Kevin, Teresa, and Kennis. His grandchildren are LaDaisha, Ethan and twins: Talia (TA-LEE-YA) and Erwin Jr.

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  • Jennifer Anderson

    Jennifer Anderson

    OLLI Director at The University of Alabama

    Jennifer Anderson is the OLLI Director at The University of Alabama. Jennifer has been with The University for ten years. She started and implemented the OLLI at UA program nine years ago with the advice, experience and direction of an advisory board. Her previous work experience includes teaching Secondary Education Language Arts, Managing Store operations for the Limited Corporation, Retail and Food Service Director for the launch of Visionland Theme Park, and Director of Bama Dining Food Service at The University of Alabama. Jennifer received her B.A. in Education from The University of Alabama along with her Masters in in Human and Environmental Sciences from the University of Alabama. Jennifer serves the community as a board member on the Police Athletic League, Shelton State Community College Foundation, Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission and the Holy Spirit Athletic Association. Jennifer has made an impact on campus and was chosen by The University of Alabama as the Professional Staff Employee of the Year for 2015. Jennifer is married with six children, the modern Brady Bunch and resides in Tuscaloosa, AL.

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  • Cynthia Almond

    Cynthia Almond

    City Council Disctrict 3 / Attorney / Finance Comm. Head

    Cynthia was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. She graduated from Central High School and then attended Vanderbilt University. She received a BA from The University of Alabama, majoring in History and minoring in Spanish. She then attended and graduated from The University of Alabama law school. She practiced law for three years before returning to The University, where she worked for over a decade at the law school and was its Assistant Dean for Advancement. She returned to private law practice in 2006 and has her own law firm where she practices in the areas of probate, estates and trusts, and business law. Cynthia serves on the Tuscaloosa City Council as the representative for District 3. She is currently serving her 3rd term, having first been elected in 2005. She is the Chair of the Finance Committee, Vice-Chair of the Public Safety committee, and serves on the Litigation and Insurance committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors for First National Bank of Central Alabama, a graduate of Leadership Alabama, a former board member for the Ol’ Colony Golf Board, a board member for the West Alabama Regional Commission, a board member for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, and recently was appointed to the board of Capstone Health Services Foundation. Cynthia is married to Brad Almond, a local circuit judge. They have two children, Lee and Miller. The family is very active in their church, First United Methodist.

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  • Bill Loyd

    Bill Loyd

    Business Owner - Willhagan's Grille & Tap Room

    Bill graduated from The University of Alabama in 1978 with a B.A. in Advertising/ Marketing. He was involved in Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Division Chair for the University Program Council, and contributor for the Crimson White newspaper. Bill has been the owner of Wilhagen’s of Nashville for 26 years and owner of Wilhagen’s of Tuscaloosa for 14. Most recently, he is the owner of Casual Class Catering in Tuscaloosa. Bill is involved in the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance and is the Past Chairman of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He has also been on the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Board of Directors since 2013.

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  • Aaron Vold

    Aaron Vold

    Associate Athletics Director for Development at The University of Alabama

    Aaron graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Public Relations and an MBA in Strategy. He began as the Public Relations Account Manager for Lewis Communications in 1999. In 2005, he became the Director of Advancement for theUniversity of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. He then became the Director of Development for the UA College of Arts and Sciences. Aaron moved on to the University of Southern Mississippi where he was the Assistant Vice President of Development and coordinated and directed fundraising initiatives. He returned to Tuscaloosa to be involved in Intercollegiate Athletics. Presently, Aaron is the Associate Athletics Director for Development at The University of Alabama. He has been a Board Member for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports since 2012 and serves as an appointed Board Member for the Tuscaloosa City Council.

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  • Subrina Champion

    Subrina Champion

    Community Relations Specialist - Mercedes-Benz; US Intl
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  • Samyra Snoddy

    Samyra Snoddy

    Accounting Technician Sr. - City of Tuscaloosa

    Samyra Snoddy is a graduate of the University of Alabama.  She earned a BS in Corporate Finance Investment Management and Human Resource Management.  She received her Master’s degree in Management from the University of Phoenix. Her professional career has exposed her to many areas.  Samyra worked for 10 years at Stillman College in the area of Enrollment Management.  She has over 25 years in the field of business and is currently employed with the City of Tuscaloosa in the Accounting and Finance Department.

    As a native of Tuscaloosa, Samyra gained a love and pride for her city from following the footsteps of her parents, Sam and Mary Snoddy.  Her mother retired from the University of Alabama.  Her father was an entrepreneur for over 60 years and was recognized as a leading African-American business owner, which is listed on a plaque in Government Plaza.

    Samyra also has a passion for business.  She, along with her sisters, were owners of “Sweet Little Nothings” an event planning and balloon decorating service. She has coordinated several fundraisers for civic organizations and non-profit foundations.  Samyra has also organized several programs aimed at promoting youth in leadership and cultural diversity throughout the city.

    She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a member of Bethel Baptist Church. Samyra serves on the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force, United Way of West Alabama Campaign Cabinets, and on the board of directors for Temporary Emergency Services.

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