Stafford County’s Tourism Team
John P. Holden
Director of Economic Development and Tourism
John joined the Stafford team in May 2018 after spending 25 years in Maine. There, his experience encompassed community and economic development; tourism development and marketing; and international business development and attraction. He helped institute and managed a number of economic development organizations. He also led the expansion of Maine’s entrepreneurship environment into communities he worked.
John was born in Columbus, Oh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in regional economics from the University of Maine. He enjoys cooking and golf.
Rick Cobert, CEcD
Economic Development Manager
Rick’s career includes business development with Stafford County, Baltimore County and the Maryland Department of Economic Development where he has participated in the attraction and expansion of numerous firms, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small business start-ups. He also brings to the team his experience as a successful small business entrepreneur. Rick holds the CEcD designation from the International Economic Development Council, a certification that recognizes his mastery of the field. His article 21st Century Jobs was published in the International Economic Development Journal.
Marc G. Smith
Business Development Manager
Marc joined the department in December 2018. He works with existing Stafford businesses to seek opportunities for expansion. He also attracts new business investment to the county and works with the Economic Development Authority to support business growth and develop projects for Stafford. Marc’s career includes 15 years of experience in commercial real estate and economic development, including his work at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). At VEDP, Marc participated in the attraction and recruitment of major businesses to the Commonwealth. He also offers substantial local development knowledge, having previously worked for Spotsylvania County, WJ Vakos Companies, Jarrell Properties Inc. and Chrismarr Commercial.
A lifelong resident of the region, he holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Radford University in which he graduated Cum Laude and played on their men’s varsity soccer team. Marc enjoys attending church, working out and spending time with his family.
Research & Data Specialist
Kelly joined the department in 2011 after 10 years in the chemical industry. She assists with the department’s research and data analysis. Her primary responsibilities include statistics, data tracking, research and graphics. She also clerks for the Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with an emphasis on chemical engineering from West Virginia University Institute of Technology. Her studies focused on statistics and experimental modeling. She has been a long-time resident of the region and has taught dance for over 25 years.
Lisa joined the department in 2016 after working for Stafford County Sheriff’s office in community outreach for four years. She brings over 15 years of event planning experience to Stafford County, having worked for various other agencies in fundraising and event planning. Lisa helps create and support multiple signature events in Stafford County while continuing to market all the county’s tourism assets and support regional and state tourism.
Born and reared in Southwest Virginia, Lisa holds an associate degree in business management. She enjoys spending time with her friends, dining out and watching movies.
Courtney has worked in the department since 2016. She assists the tourism manager in event planning and marketing to the county’s tourism target markets. She also supports regional and state tourism initiatives, and writes and edits copy for department announcements, special events and ribbon cuttings.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Courtney moved to the region from Northern Virginia to attend the University of Mary Washington (UMW). She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMW. Courtney enjoys hiking, exercising and traveling.
Shyrah A. Moran (Sam)
Sr. Administrative Assistant
Shyrah joined the team as its Sr. Administrative Assistant in 2018. She manages the front office and coordinates with other departments at the Stafford County Government Center. She assists citizens in fulfilling the county’s requirements for starting a business, and she provides tourism guides and brochures to residents planning weddings, family reunions, meetings and other events. Her career in administration has spanned 20 years. After high school graduation, she enlisted in the United Stated Army as a 75H/Personnel Service Specialist. Following her military service, Shyrah worked for Raytheon Systems Inc., MM Design Group, HQ NASA Headquarters Washington DC and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also served as a teacher assistant in the Virginia Beach Public Schools.
Born in Portsmouth, Va, she lived with her military family in numerous East Coast locations. Shyrah attended high school In Stafford is happy to return here with her children so that they can experience the same loving community life that she enjoyed growing up.