WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - As a child, Jana Schmader, the new Downtown Wichita Falls Development Director, used to think the world ended at Big Blue.
"It was always so fun for me to come downtown and get as close to Big Blue as I could because I wanted to find out if it is where the Earth stopped," Schmader said.
Now, she said she knows the world does not end downtown. In fact, starting January 22 she will work to grow downtown Wichita Falls.
Schmader started out at the non-profit as a volunteer several years ago was promoted to the position this year, January 3.
"It was very surreal," Schmader said.
She is a native Wichitan and is looking forward to leading the charge in making the city's downtown the place to be. She said DWFD, under former executive director Cynthia Laney, started the change for the better.
"I remember growing up and downtown wasn't a place we frequented regularly but now it's already exciting to bring my children park in one and walk the streets and go to different businesses," Schmader said. "It's already part of my children's lives which is really fun."
She wants to continue that change by working with the city to attract new businesses downtown or help them grow.
Schmader credits her time at The Forum Wichita Falls in getting her to her current position.
"I got to sit at a table with very transformational leaders and just learn and absorb," Schmader said.
She started working at The Forum after graduating from Midwestern State University, in 2012, with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from The Dillard College of Business. Her first task was helping to raise $2.3 million to renovate the building. It is a task she exceeded and helped raise $2.5 million.
"It was incredible," Schmader said. "It was a unique experience. I feel very humbled to be able to take a part in that."
Her first event she will put together is the St. Patrick's Day Festival in March.