Nikki Perry has returned to Gainesville as the city’s new communications and tourism director.
Perry said on Monday that she is slowly transitioning into the role held by Catiel Felts, who plans to retire at the end of May.
“It really feels like coming home,” she added. “It really feels good to be back in town and working for a city where I know so many people and so much of the history.”
Perry is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She worked at The Times in Gainesville before serving as editor of The Paper in Braselton.
In 2008, Perry transitioned into public relations as an information officer for Hall County government, working with TV18, the local public access network.
Since 2012, she has served as the public relations director for the city of Lilburn in Gwinnett County.
“Nikki’s previous government communications experience at Hall County and the city of Lilburn made her the perfect candidate for this position,” City Manager Bryan Lackey said in a statement. “She has worked in and around Gainesville for the majority of her career … so she will be a familiar face to many city residents.”
Perry said serving the public is her passion and mission.
“I got my start as a journalist, and open government and educating the public about what their government is doing is very important to me … and I think it’s an important part of our democracy,” Perry said.
Expanding the work of the Gainesville Convention and Visitors Bureau, which includes the city’s new strategic plan to attract businesses and add public events on the square, is a main priority for Perry, too.
“I’d like to be a part of the implementation of that,” she said. “I’m really excited to see our downtown businesses continue to grow and thrive. I’m just excited to keep that going.”