Former Winthrop Rockefeller Institute spokesman and state energy department executive Jeff LeMaster has signed on as chief of communications for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
LeMaster, a former editor at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will take over communications, marketing, public relations and media relations at the department starting Jan. 3.
Previously the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment’s director of enterprise services, LeMaster’s new salary will be $74,000 a year. Before going to work for the state in 2018, LeMaster spent five years as communications director for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain. The nonprofit educational center and conference venue celebrates the legacy of former Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller is affiliated with the University of Arkansas.
Stacy Hurst, secretary of the energy and environment department, said in a news release that LeMaster will bring to the job “his excellent ability as a communication and a passion for the qualities, locations and experiences that make Arkansas a compelling place to live and visit.”
LeMaster worked for the Democrat-Gazette from 2005 to 2011 and previously wrote for the Jacksonville Patriot.
In the release, he called his new position the “best communications job in Arkansas,” celebrating “so much about Arkansas to explore, engage and fall in love with.”
LeMaster holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in leadership, both from John Brown University in Siloam Springs. He calls himself “first and foremost a storyteller” who was blessed with chances to interview governors, senators, stars and even a Nobel laureate, but found equal richness in the lives of farmers, teachers “and a man convinced he had seen Bigfoot,” twice.
“I look forward to working with the immensely talented communications team at Parks, Heritage and Tourism as we seek out and tell the stories of Arkansas,” LeMaster said in the release.