Sousa resigns as FBA executive director amid festival plans

Farragut Business Alliance board is searching for a new executive director while it plans for Farragut Food and Wine Festival in October and other upcoming events.

Allison Sousa, who held the FBA executive director position since 2010, announced her resignation to Herc Ligdis, FBA president, Tuesday, Aug. 9. She has accepted the position of director at Lenoir City Events Center. Her last day is Friday, Aug. 19.

“I was a little surprised,” Ligdis said about the resignation minutes before a called emergency meeting Thursday, Aug. 11.

“The time frame for the transition is tight, as Allison has been asked to step into her new role quickly, so I feel it is imperative we meet to discuss a transition timeline, as well as what actions need to occur for our current planned events,” he stated in an e-mail to board members Wed-nesday, Aug. 10.

“We need to open up conversation so we can get on the same page,” Ligdis said during the meeting. “We already have an event scheduled in October. Obviously, we need to plan for that event.”

Ligdis said the board needs someone to take the lead on the hiring process. In response, FBA board members voted unanimously on a motion from board member Tony Cox, president of Republic Newspapers, Inc., parent company of farragutpress, to place David Purvis, former FBA president, as lead on the hiring process. Purvis recommended the board create a search committee.

Sousa asked that board member and Town Alderman Louise Povlin assume a liaison role on FBA with whom Sousa would stay in contact during the transition process.

Sousa recommended Steph-anie Nelson, who has been working on FBA-sponsored events, as an interim executive director.

Sousa said individuals interested in applying for the executive director position should e-mail

“When we get the word out, we will get applications,” Purvis said.

“Your position has evolved, so finding someone to take this over is not an easy task,” Povlin said.

The board again will meet at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 18, in Farragut Town Hall.

Sousa, a Loudon County resident, said, “Amidst the FBA funding issues over the past 10 months, I felt the need to look for other opportunities in case the funding didn’t come through because we are a two-income family and me having an income was very important.”