By Aimee Robinette
To say Franklin Webster is an interesting transplant/native son would be an understatement. Born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, Webster, the president and CEO of Tunica Convention and Visitors Bureau, was a world traveler by the time he was in preschool. His parents were stationed there during his father’s military service. The family moved back to his parent’s hometown in Greenwood when he was three-years-old. Fast forward, Webster attended The University of Mississippi, where he graduated in 1990 and was a History major with a minor in English.
“I moved to Washington, DC in the summer of 1990 and worked in the George H.W. Bush administration in the Office of Presidential Personnel and in the Executive Office of the Vice President as an Advance Representative and the personal aide to Marilyn Quayle,” he explains. “I moved back to Mississippi in the summer of 1993 and was the first executive director of the Tunica Chamber of Commerce. While at the Chamber of Commerce, I lobbied for and helped pass the authorizing legislation for the creation of the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau in the 1996 session of the MS Legislature. I assumed the role of the CVB’s president and CEO in January 1997 and have served in that capacity until today.”
While in DC, Webster had the opportunity to continue the travels he began as a boy and has been to seventeen foreign countries and forty-eight states with the Vice President and his family. Webster says the experience of getting to see the world made him realize how much the Mississippi Delta meant to him as his home.
“The arrival of the gaming industry to Mississippi along with my family has happily kept me here. While I do not work directly in the industry, my position has allowed me to work with and alongside multi-million dollar corporations during the day while living in the small town atmosphere of the Delta. It’s a win-win,” he says.
For Webster, Mississippi is an easy “sell.” What does he love the most about the Delta? “Our common sense of place. No matter what town, city or fork in the road you are from, we’re all from ‘the Delta,’” he says. “ I think that’s what makes our area and our people special.”
The president/CEO also says he has a few favorite spots in Tunica. “Friday night at a Tunica Casino, and then Saturday morning in a duck blind is very appealing,” says Webster. “And, wherever dinner is with family and friends is right there as well.”
As for family, Webster says he “hit the jackpot” the day he met his future wife, Penny, during his first month living in Tunica. “Also, I could not be prouder to be the father of Hardy, a junior at Mississippi State and Burch, a high school senior and incoming freshman at Mississippi State,” he says with a smile. “With two Ole Miss parents, I’m still not sure how our children both wound up at State but as long as they are happy, so are we. Hotty Toddy!”