Dear Tracy,

Congratulations on the next exciting chapter of your life! We are happy for you but sure will miss having you around!

Tracy KimberlinRetirement is an occasion for pondering the past, and we have talked a lot lately about the impact of your 35-year career on the local hospitality industry. No matter the length of tenure, staff members uttered similar words often. Among them are leadership, work ethic, passion, knowledge and many others anyone would be proud to hear. With those qualities and your boundless energy, you have grown the Convention & Visitors Bureau in a way no one else could and the CVB is prepared for what the future may hold for travel and tourism in the Ozarks.

During your last days at the CVB, we can see you're feeling bittersweet about retirement. You're clearly looking forward to the new adventures ahead but you're leaving with a long list of projects you hoped would be completed, or at least begun, before you left. Don't worry! Your dreams for the future of the region's hospitality industry won't be forgotten and the progress you envision will happen because you laid the groundwork for those who will come after you.

As you depart, we send with you wishes for plenty of time for making memories with your grandkids, leisurely rounds of golf and simply enjoying the freedom of retirement, pleasures you have earned after 35 years of dedication to the CVB. 

With Fond Regards,

CVB Staff

Dana MaugansDana Maugans (1999)

Director of Sales

I don’t recall the year but it was before the great recession. There were talks of BKD (now Forvis) building new office space on the empty lot next to the Expo Center. Tracy got involved in preventing the building from going in because it would take away from a potential convention complex development from happening on that site. The lot is still empty but prior to the pandemic, there was strong community momentum to make a convention center happen. I am still confident that a convention complex will happen between the Expo Center, University Plaza and the empty lot.

Susan WadeSusan Wade (2000)

Public Relations Manager

When we came up with the idea of a tourism video where Tracy would play the role of a school teacher, I didn’t think he would do it. Not only did he do it, he did it with flair! Sporting a bow tie and glasses hanging off the tip of his nose, he rang a bell to call his class to order and singled out a teacher’s pet as he quizzed his students. That video still makes me laugh. Thanks, Tracy, for always being a good sport!  

Carrie ChavezCarrie Chavez (2001)

Event Services Manager

I just celebrated my 21st anniversary at the CVB with Tracy as our fearless leader for the entirety of that time. When I started, I had no idea what a CVB was but was eager to learn. Tracy was quick to offer an orientation meeting. To which the staff jokingly told me to drink a lot of coffee and prepare for a VERY lengthy meeting. The staff still jokes about Tracy’s orientation meetings for newcomers. Tracy is passionate about the CVB and shares his knowledge freely. That continues to this day!!! Tracy may be leaving the CVB but he will continue to educate and lead the tourism industry in other ways. Stay passionate! Continue being a tourism advocate and inspire others in the industry to do the same. We wish you all the best. 

Shelly GraubergerShelly Grauberger (2006)

Visitor Services Manager

Tracy, I will never forget how helpful you were during a challenging time in my life. Right after my house burned, I discovered that I was also facing a health issue. Tracy could not have been nicer or more supportive. He was so kind and helpful to me. One thing I can say about Tracy is he has a very kind heart. Not many bosses would be as supportive of an employee, but Tracy is one of a kind. Tracy, thank you for everything; I will never forget it, and I will never forget you. 

Lance KetteringLance Kettering (2010)

Sports Commission Executive Director

As I ponder my remarks, I keep coming back to a sports analogy. I have been an Iowa Hawkeyes football fan since a youngster growing up in the corn fields of NW Iowa. Since the late 1970's the University of Iowa has only had two Head football coaches, Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz (currently the longest-serving coach at one school and a coach at Iowa since 1999). It is unheard of these days in college athletics to have long-tenured coaches. Tracy is the “Kirk Ferentz” of the CVB and travel tourism world. Loyal to his team, loyal to his city and state, past and present employees.  I admire your loyalty, dedication and passion for your job.  You are the model for stability in the industry, staying true to your “school” (Springfield CVB) and making your destination the best when surely other offers presented themselves. Congratulations on a long-storied career and I wish nothing but the best for you in your retirement and I am sure you will always be a part of the Springfield CVB family. Thank you for your support of our organization at the Sports Commission. All the best.

Melissa EvansMelissa Evans (2010)

Sales Manager

I’ve always admired Tracy’s passion for the CVB and tourism industry for Springfield. I remember in one of our sales meetings Tracy mentioned to us that we had to have passion for our jobs. I believe that I do; however, sometimes when things get challenging I always remember what he said and that having passion for my job is conveyed to my clients and then they have faith in booking with me and in Springfield. So thanks, Tracy, for setting the example of hard work, dedication and passion.

Jane RipsJane Rips (2011)

Advertising Sales Specialist

Tracy, it has been a privilege to work for you. Your leadership and passion for the travel industry in Springfield and the state are greatly appreciated as shown by the many accolades you've received - a scholarship in your name, Tracy Kimberlin Day and many other awards. I would give you the “Best Boss Award.”  You can retire from the CVB feeling proud of the many achievements you have accomplished over 35 years. You show concern and care for your staff. This was evident during the pandemic when you advocated for all of us to remain employed. You are always understanding when we have a personal or family issue that arises.  Over my ten years, you have given each one of us a Christmas card with a note from you. This is special and I have kept each card. I will miss your many stories about Wicker Works, working at the cave, college days, your coin trick, and get togethers at your home. You are a great example of what a leader and boss should be! Best wishes in all your future endeavors and keep your steps up! 

Katie JohnsonKatie Johnson (2011)

Sports Commission Assistant Director

It’s hard to put over 11 years of memories and examples of leadership into just a few sentences. I will never forget on one of my first weeks of working at the CVB, I heard the back door opening. I assumed it was Shelly, so I went back to “roar” and scare her when the door opened, but it was not Shelly… it was Tracy, my new boss! I was mortified. He laughed and laughed though and I knew then that he had a sense of humor. Thank you, Tracy, for making us laugh with your quips and stories, for laughing at (almost) all of my stupid jokes and most of all for caring so deeply about your staff and making us all feel comfortable to be ourselves.

Steve RossSteve Ross (2012)

Assistant Marketing Director

The first time I met Tracy was at the 2011 Salute to Travel & Tourism Banquet when my wife and I were attending with the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield Foundation to watch Tom and Karen Sweeney accept the Pinnacle Award for their Civil War museum. Tracy was wearing a big top hat that made him look somewhat more like a character from Alice in Wonderland than a Civil War-era southern gentleman. We attended the banquet again the following year to accept the Ambassador Award for the 2011 Wilson’s Creek Reenactment and he was all decked out in camouflage. My wife commented that the CVB looked like a really fun place to work. Two months later I was an employee. I’ve been employed here for more than ten years now and it is still a fun place to work. A lot of that great work environment is due to Tracy’s management style and his loyalty to our staff. Hats off to you Tracy!

Lisa PerezLisa Perez (2013)

Sales Manager

As I look back at the last 10 years working at the CVB several things that stand out to me. Tracy, you’ve been a great leader, especially through the pandemic years and knew actually what to do even before anyone else had a clue; but more importantly you’ve always had an open door policy and roll-up-your-sleeve attitude which I’ve appreciated, (and the full candy jar helped too).  And of course, there’s the little things…like the handwritten Christmas cards with heartfelt sentiments; the ability to rattle off facts and figures like it’s nobody's  business and I’ll especially miss your great story-telling and sense of humor. Tracy, your valuable  tourism insight will be missed by many, not only in Springfield but across the state. Congratulations on your retirement!  

Jennifer HoltJennifer Holt (2014)

Executive Assistant

It has been a pleasure and honor working for you for the past eight years. You have always gone above and beyond to support your staff by being a strong leader and a good friend to us all. Your door was always open, and, although we have had our share of differing opinions, you have always been respectful and patiently listened. I will never forget the many times you came to my aid. I hope all the good you have done returns to you tenfold. Here’s to your exciting ventures ahead! 

Barbara BartelsBarbara Bartels (2016)

Visitor Services Associate

Even though I was only a volunteer and then eventually a part-time employee, Tracy has always treated me as one of the team and included me in all the activities throughout the last seven years. Inviting us to his house and giving us a grand tour of the grounds was so much fun. He is a great host. No one will compare to his devotion to promoting Springfield and preserving tourism during the worst of times. I wish him as much fun in his retirement as my husband and I experience. Thank you so much for your foresight and moving us forward. Hopefully, Tracy’s dream of a Springfield civic center will occur in the near future.

Tonia CastanedaTonia Castaneda (2017)

Director of Finance/Administration

I could say a lot about Tracy’s work ethic and leadership, but the quality that will always resonate most with me is his loyalty and the fierce way in which he protected his staff’s livelihood during the pandemic. While most businesses were letting people go, Tracy knew the staff was the CVB’s greatest asset and he didn’t want a single employee to experience unemployment. I don’t think many people realize how diligently he worked to avoid having to let anyone go, exhausting every avenue to secure additional revenue, cutting expenses and even preparing to freeze his own salary if necessary. He is the reason our team is still intact today. Thank you for everything, Tracy!

Lori CaseyLori Casey (2017)

Advertising Sales Specialist

Tracy, Time flies when you are having fun! The last five years have been full of ups and BIG downs however, we as an organization have landed on our feet. I often say to myself and others, “How the hell did we survive Covid?" It was because of your careful guidance and experience, which I am very thankful for. I don’t know of any other organizations in our industry that were able to make it through that catastrophic time without letting employees go. Of all your many accomplishments, to me, this one was the most far reaching and profound. Enjoy retirement, but we all know you won’t retire in the traditional sense. I will be watching to see what new accomplishments you add to your resume. BTW, I have never worked for any organization that gave me my birthday off. Thanks and best wishes.

Pamela GirardotPam Girardot (2019)

Administrative Marketing Assistant

Tracy, I admire your passion and commitment to the CVB and to the staff. I am especially grateful for your leadership and encouragement during the past few years as we navigated through the pandemic making sure that we were all able to continue working. I will certainly miss your sense of humor and unique turn of phrase which has always kept our meetings interesting! It has been my good fortune and pleasure to have worked at the CVB with you as our leader for the past three years. Thank you for everything you have done to make the CVB what it is today. Wishing you all the best as you start a new chapter in your life! 

Madison YohnMadison Yohn (2019)

Content Coordinator

In just the few short years I’ve been here, a moment that always stands out to me is when I first interviewed for this job. It was my third round interview with Tracy and I remember sitting in his office half scared to death. One of the first questions he asked me was if I knew what a CVB was/did before I interviewed for the job. I had a choice at that moment, either lie through my teeth or be completely honest. I chose to admit that I knew nothing, but had learned a lot through my research and was eager to learn. I’m not sure what he thought about my answer, but I’m sitting here today with what I think is the best job in the city. Tracy is the real deal for the CVB and I’m disappointed that I haven’t had as much time with him as everyone else, but lucky to have called him the boss for the last three.

Megan BuchbinderMegan Buchbinder (2020)

Director of Marketing

Tracy has been one of my fiercest advocates and biggest cheerleaders since I joined the CVB in 2020. His trust in me was instant and I will forever be grateful for one of the most important lessons in leadership that I have learned so far: believe in your team. Tracy has built the CVB into what it is today because he believed in the work that his team does every single day. He gives us all the freedom not only to own our roles but to grow them. Thanks for the unwavering support, Tracy! 

Ashley ClairAshley Clair (2022)

Partner Development Manager

Tracy, I truly admire your leadership of the CVB staff and how you’ve had such a positive impact on the tourism industry in Springfield. It really hit me at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism just how big of a tourism celebrity you are — people literally refer to you as the Godfather of tourism! Although I’ve only had the pleasure of working with you over the past three months, I have done my best to soak up your knowledge and insights. I know you won’t be a stranger to the CVB after your retirement, so I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from you in whatever capacity the future holds for you with the CVB. Congratulations on this new chapter of your life! You’ve earned it!