As Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD), Mark Ezell is responsible for the growth and overall branding of the state’s global tourism footprint. A trusted longtime business advisor to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Ezell and his team support the state’s second-leading industry by driving visitation, revenue and job creation. Since joining the team in January 2019, Ezell has overseen groundbreaking campaigns like “Kid Reviewed,” which used wearable technology to scientifically prove kids have more fun in Tennessee. He spearheaded the growth of initiatives including the Tennessee Music Pathways and the annual Tennessee Songwriters Week. Additionally, he established the department’s new Office of Rural Tourism to better assist rural counties through marketing, grants, education and outreach. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020, Governor Lee appointed Ezell as the Director of the Economic Recovery Group (ERG) to reboot the state’s economy as nearly half a million Tennesseans experienced job loss. Ezell oversaw leaders from a diverse cross-section of public and private sectors to restore economic growth throughout Tennessee. Under Ezell’s leadership, the department has received such prestigious awards as a Gold Cannes Lion, North American Effie, Ad Age’s A-List, Reggie Award, Bronze Clio and a Yesawich Award for Marketing Excellence. Additionally, he was named HospitalityTN’s Tourism Leader of the Year in 2021. Ezell is a seventh-generation Tennessean and a leader in building recognizable brands, helping make Purity Dairies a household name and one of the minds behind the iconic “Got Milk?” campaign.