By Ray Balogh
WARSAW — Mitchell Randall traffics in good vibes.
His infectious optimism, bright creativity and amicable manner suit him perfectly for his job as marketing and communications manager at Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau, a position he has held going on three years.
Randall, 26, takes a “very proactive” approach to his duties, which include revamping and managing the organization’s website and social media platforms and “doing creative writing for our blog, advertising, website and social media.” In addition, “we have guests calling the building or stopping in and we help answer their questions.”
The marketing position is Randall’s second stint at the CVB. “When I was a sophomore in college I started here as the visitor center assistant,” said the Winona Lake resident. “I ran the front desk, helped visitors, took calls and maintained our inventory of brochures.
“When I applied in 2016 I wanted to get some experience working in an office environment,” he said, noting “up until then I was always in retail.”
Randall, who was born and raised in downtown Akron, helped his grandparents, who owned Viking Foods, for 10 years, from eighth grade through his college years, unloading trucks, stocking shelves, running the cash register and occasionally delivering groceries. During college he also worked at Menards in Warsaw, selling doors and windows.
A graduate of Tippecanoe Valley High School, Randall attended Ivy Tech for two years, and finished his four-year bachelor’s degree in communications at Grace College.
His communications degree was his second choice. “I originally wanted to study marketing and pretty quickly learned that a lot of marketing was business oriented, which is OK, but I wanted it to be more about people and personal communications,” so he switched majors, and is glad he did.
“I have always been outgoing,” he said. “I love meeting new people and initiating conversations.”
He cited his greatest singular satisfaction in his current position as “doing a whole new website” for the visitor’s bureau.
“It is definitely more user friendly now. We have a lot more content and photography. I am very happy how it turned out and being able to work on that and keep it updated.”
Randall is currently “working on the 2022 Experience Guide, a travel guide of the county. I do some of the photography and writing projects and also work with freelancers.”
He said 2020 was “definitely a rough year” for the visitors bureau.
“COVID forced us to become more creative. Around the world, travel took a big hit, and around here we had to think of ways to promote restaurants and other businesses.
“We couldn’t let them go out of business, but we couldn’t tell people to go visit them. We encouraged people to do social distancing outdoors or do their business online.” As a result, “we actually gained more businesses during COVID than we lost.”
During his free time, Randall enjoys kayaking on Winona Lake and “spending a lot of time in the village,” particularly at the Light Rail Cafe & Roaster and Port Winona Wine & Market.
“I am very interested in people and getting to know them and having those relationships, and a lot of times getting out of my comfort zone,” he said. “That is where you learn, and asking questions is how you grow.”
Randall’s parents still live in Akron. His mother works as a teacher, and his father, who retired as manager of Viking Foods when the family sold the business in 2019, now works in Warsaw at Seymour Midwest, a global supplier of hand tools.