WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce welcomed its new events coordinator, Darlene Bitter, on March 17.
Bitter came to the chamber from the National Geographic Visitor Center in Tusayan where she worked in group sales for about two years.
When Bitter's husband got a job working in the railroad industry in Williams, she started looking for a job in town so they could be in the same place.
"So it was probably love and luck that brought me here," she said.
Bitter said she enjoys being in Williams because she is from a small town in California.
"I love small towns because you don't go to the grocery store without bumping into somebody you know," she said. "And I like that small town atmosphere where people work together and everybody knows each other."
Prior to her job in Tusayan, Bitter worked for several publications in California, including the Penny Saver and Auto Trader, a newspaper in Apple Valley and the Route 66 newspaper. During her career, she has worked in pre-press, journalism, advertising, and as a camera operator.
"I've done everything," she said.
While working in sales, Bitter's territory extended from the Pacific Ocean to the Arizona/New Mexico border. During that time she traveled to Williams for her job and met Jan Shirley, who is now her co-worker at the chamber.
"I met a few people, so it was kind of weird coming back and it was like, 'I remember you,'" she said.
Before coming to Arizona, Bitter also spent some time working as the volunteer coordinator for the California Route 66 Museum. In that job she helped promote the museum and its events.
Bitter described her responsibilities as the chamber's events coordinator as varied.
"Right now I'm looking for porta-potties and fencing," she said. "You're looking for all those little elements that you need to put together an event. You're also looking for sponsors, you're looking for volunteers, you're looking for a lot of different things."
Currently, Bitter is organizing a visit from the Harlem Ambassadors basketball players on May 4. The team will play a game at the Williams High School gym at 5 p.m.
"These guys are great," she said. "They're similar to the Harlem Globe Trotters where they do comedy-style basketball. But they're awesome because they're college educated kids, they have a positive attitude, and they try to teach students about self-esteem, how to stay in school and off drugs."
For now, Bitter's goal as she settles into her new job is "absorbing everything that they've done, learning the events, and then going from there."