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

Amye Anderson is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.