Deby Snodgrass named executive director at Tourism Department
CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Governor Mary Fallin today (Tuesday, February 8) announced she has selected Deby Snodgrass to serve as executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.
The Tourism and Recreation Commission unanimously approved Snodgrass’ appointment. She will replace Hardy Watkins, who is resigning this month.
Snodgrass has more than 30 years experience in marketing and public policy in the private sector, most recently as senior director of public affairs for Chesapeake Energy. In that role, she developed and executed strategic political and public policy initiatives, managed both state and federal political action committees and monitored federal, state and local issues in the company’s operating areas.
“Deby Snodgrass will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in marketing, strategy and public policy to tourism,” Fallin said.
“The tourism industry plays a vital role in our economy and I know Deby will ensure the industry thrives. She will be a tireless advocate for Oklahoma as she promotes our state’s wonderful resources and tourism destinations to the rest of the nation.”
Prior to working for Chesapeake, Snodgrass was a founding partner of the public policy and research firm Cole Hardgrave Snodgrass and Associates. She has been a frequent guest speaker and has taught policy and strategy at various international venues.
“I’m honored that Governor Fallin would select me to lead the Tourism and Recreation Department,” Snodgrass said. “I look forward to working closely with the governor to promote and grow the tourism industry in our state.”
In 2011, Snodgrass served as chairwoman of the inaugural committee of Governor Fallin. She previously served as executive director of the 1995 and 1999 inaugurations of former Governor Frank Keating. Former First Lady Cathy Keating said at the time “Deby Snodgrass turns ordinary words into unforgettable visual images, simple ideas into spectacular events and a plain piece of paper into a work of art.”
Snodgrass also was a founding member of the Board of Directors for Friends of the Mansion, Inc. and is a former co-chair of “Opening Night,” Oklahoma City’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. She served eight years on Oklahoma’s Capitol Preservation Commission and currently serves as a board member for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City.
Snodgrass and her husband John live in Oklahoma City. Their son Chase is a student at Oklahoma State University.