FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. — August 1st is the target start date for the next executive director of the New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau and president of the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

The new hire will replace Sharon Cruikshank who has served in the executive director role since 1997 and the presidential position simultaneously since 2003.

Sharon Cruikshank

Her retirement takes effect on Dec. 31st.

“I’m hoping and praying that the right person steps forward and they’re led to apply and that we can get them geared up so they’re ready to face 2020 with a determined step and an open hand to welcome people into the state,” Cruikshank said.

“There’s so many opportunities, so many things you can take advantage of (in the job) — the travel, meeting new people. It’s just an exciting job.”

The application deadline is May 15, 2019 at 5 p.m.

A hiring decision is expected by July.

If the hiring timeline holds, the new employee will work alongside Cruikshank through several large events in Fayette County including Bridge Day on Saturday, Oct. 19.

Fayette County is also the host site for the 24th World Scout Jamboree which runs from July 22 to Aug. 2 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve.

In addition to working in dual roles, Cruikshank has also been a member of Fayetteville’s Town Council since 2011.

Once she hands over her job duties at the end of the year, Cruikshank said she and her husband, a retired emergency services worker and volunteer firefighter for more than 50 years, are looking forward to spending more time with their family.

They also plan to travel, volunteer and “enjoy more.”

“We’ve been working toward this,” she said. “People are, like, ‘Why are you going to retire?’ And I say, ‘Well, so I can enjoy it.'”