PITTSBURG — A Crawford County fixture, B.J. Harris will be moving on — just not quite yet.
Harris, who has been director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau since Nov. of 2011, has accepted a position with the Lawrence CVB — also known as eXplore Lawrence — as the Sports Sales Manager. His resignation is effective Aug. 31.
However, Harris will be remaining in Pittsburg until at least the end of the upcoming school year to allow his wife Leslie Harris to finish her Elementary Education degree.
B.J. Harris said the Lawrence CVB will be allowing him to work from home while his wife finishes her degree.
“They’ve been very gracious to allow me to telecommute,” he said.
Harris has also been the voice of Girard athletics and color commentator for the Pittsburg State University Gorillas — something he will continue to do for at least the next year via mytownmedia.com.
Additionally, Harris is a member of the Pittsburg School Board, and is running unopposed for the seat.
Harris said he will likely remain, at least through May 2018, because it is too late for him to withdraw from the November election.
“I’ll work with the board and do what’s in the best interest of the kids.”
Harris and his wife also host the annual Lylahpalooza event to benefit children with serious medical issues. Named after their daughter Delylah, who lost her battle with a congenital heart defect in 2013, her parents are keeping her legacy alive and paying forward the community care they received as they support other children with serious medical conditions.
This year’s event is set for Sept. 10 and may or may not be the last one.
Harris said they’re currently focusing on this year’s event and have not yet made a decision on whether or not to continue.
Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce President Blake Benson said he’s sorry to see Harris go.
“B.J. has done a great job of really expanding … how the CVB works with tourism,” Benson said, adding that Pittsburg has “always done sports well” but that Harris had helped to integrate travel and tourism into the local economy.
“Our tourism and hospitality industry has grown significantly under his leadership and he’ll be sorely missed,” Benson said in a release.
CVB Advisory Board Chairman Dave Goble echoed those sentiments in the same release.
“The board is sorry to see B.J. leave, but excited for him and his family,” Goble said. “He has put the CVB in a great position and we are excited about what the future holds.”
The search for Harris’ replacement will begin immediately. In an effort to maintain continuity during the transition, the CVB Advisory Board will name Devin Gorman, Vice President of Operations at the Pitttsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, as interim CVB Director following Harris’ departure.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.