TWRA Hires New Chief, Expands PR Effort

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Formerly with the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources, Jenifer Wisniewski has been hired as TWRA's new Chief of Outreach & Communications. She says she has hunted and fished all her life but that deer hunting "is her main thing." (Photo: Contributed)

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has hired a new chief in its Information & Education (I & E) Division. TWRA’s I & E Division is what most organizations call public relations and marketing.

Following a reorganization of the division, Jenifer Wisniewski has been hired as TWRA’s new Chief of Outreach & Communications. She will supervise TWRA’s four Regional I & E Coordinators, all social media & marketing efforts, the magazine staff and be responsible for all of TWRA’s publications. She will share responsibilities with former I & E Chief Don King who will now be over all of TWRA’s multi-media responsibilities including live streaming, video production and other multi-media efforts.

For the last five years Wisniewski has worked for the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources basically doing the same thing she will be doing for TWRA. With the reorganization of TWRA’s I & E efforts she said, “The opportunity to take on a new branch TWRA has created is the opportunity of a lifetime, basically replicating what I’ve been doing in Georgia. I couldn’t ask for more of a dream job.”

Wisniewski was tapped by TWRA primarily because of some extraordinary successes Georgia DNR has experienced in recent years.

She says using highly successful Internet and e-mail marketing campaigns, Georgia is one of the very few states that has experienced an INCREASE in hunting and fishing license sales.

“When we see an increase in the number of license holders, that’s how we know we’re moving the needle,” said Wisniewski. “We’ve seen an increase in license sales every year since 2013.”

She says in that time Georgia has gone from selling about 635,000 hunting licenses per year to more than 718,000 hunting licenses per year, a 13 percent increase. She said fishing license sales have increased from about one million per year to 1.2 million per year, a 20 percent increase. Most other states, including Tennessee, have seen declining license sales.

Like Georgia DNR, TWRA has contracted with an outside vendor, Brandt Information Services. It is a technology and consulting firm that specializes in working with parks and wildlife agencies to increase outdoors participation.

“Use of technology and electronic marketing is a critical component for us,” said TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter. “The world’s not like it was in 1949 [when the first independent Tennessee Game and Fish Commission was created].”

Wisniewski is a strong believer in a national marketing philosophy known as R3, or the three R’s that stand for recruitment, retention, and reactivation. In other words, recruit more hunters and fishermen, keep them and around be sure they keep buying hunting & fishing licenses.
“Our core customer is getting older,” said Wisniewski. “If we don’t replace those customers wildlife conservation will be in danger. In Georgia we’ve used some techniques and technology that have proven to be successful. It’s all about customer service.”

In most states the sale of hunting and fishing licenses has been on the decline, due in part to fewer young men and women entering the arena. However Jenifer Wisniewski said in Georgia, an aggressive electronic marketing campaign has increased hunting and fishing license sales every year since 2013. (Photo: Richard Simms)

One of Wisniewski’s first tasks will be to hire someone for a newly-created Assistant Chief position. She hasn’t even made the move to Nashville yet and has to familiarize herself with Tennessee government hiring mandates and practices, but says, “I plan to cast a wide net [for a new assistant chief] to see what kind of talent is out there.”

She will also be hiring a replacement for former TWRA Communications Manager Doug Markham, who retired in June.

Wisniewski graduated from the University of Alabama and says she has hunted and fished all her life.

“Deer hunting is my main thing,” she said.

She has a nine-month old daughter. Her husband is a mallocologist [an expert in clams and mollusks]. She says he hopes to be hired by TWRA as well.

“Hunting for a new house in Nashville has really been frustrating,” she said. “But once we get there I know it’s really going to be exciting.”

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