Cookeville-Putnam County representatives accept American Association of Retirement Communities’ Seal of Approval Award. From left are Ramay Winchester, director of tourism initiatives, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development; Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development, Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau; Molly Brown, director of public relations & marketing, CPCVB; Melanie Beauchamp, director of outreach & engagement, TDTD; and Wade Adler, executive director, AARC.

COOKEVILLE – The American Association of Retirement Communities, the nation’s leading organization in educating and inspiring communities to attract retirees, honored Cookeville-Putnam County by presenting the coveted AARC Seal of Approval Award to local representatives at its annual conference, hosted in Wilmington, NC last week.

The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau serves as the marketing arm for retiree recruitment in Putnam County. Vice President of Visitor Development Zach Ledbetter and Director of Public Relations & Marketing Molly Brown attended the conference to receive the prestigious award.

The honor is presented annually to recipients from across the U.S. that demonstrate a cutting-edge commitment to attract retirees through lifestyle programming, amenity development, communication programs and education. Award winners are evaluated by a national panel of retirement destinations experts on a variety of criteria, including health care, retiree-appropriate housing, lifestyle amenities, adult education, recreational and cultural opportunities and governmental and private support of retiree-focused programs.

“We are proud to again receive this coveted honor, as we strive to market Putnam County as a valued retiree and visitor destination,” said Ledbetter.

The visitors’ bureau works to recruit active, quality retirees seeking a community in which to thrive. Retirees visit a community four to five times before deciding to relocate, making retiree recruitment a natural fit for visitor development programming.

Ledbetter added, “Putnam County is an ideal location to visit and to retire. Retirees are ‘permanent tourists.’ They are looking for a well-positioned location with easy access to large, metro areas and an international airport, access to premier healthcare, and a low cost of living. We can also offer no state income tax, four mild seasons, and extensive outdoor recreation and community-focused amenities.”

Noted as one of the top retiree destinations in the state, Cookeville-Putnam County has been highlighted by Retire Tennessee since the program’s inception more than 12 years ago. Cookeville-Putnam County was also recently featured in Where to Retire Magazine and was named a “Best Small Town” in retiree magazine Ideal Living’s 2017 Best-of-the-Best.

The AARC is a nonprofit group that encourages communities to make their areas desirable for retirees – and promotes the significant, positive economic impact that population can have in an area. For more information on AARC, go to

For more information about retiree recruitment in Cookeville-Putnam County, contact Zach Ledbetter at or go to

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