Ad director journey full circle: Sunshine State to Longhorn State, back to Sunshine State


Career in tourism industry a constant for Carl Watson

Carl Watson, new executive director/ SVAA / Headline SurferHeadline Surfer photo / Carl Watson as shown on his first day at work in the New Smyrna Beach Visitor's Center.

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- You could say Carl Watson's personal and professional live have come full circle.

He's right back to where he started on both fronts and really lovin' it.

Watson, born in Cocoa Beach and a 1965 graduate of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, is back home so to speak as the new director of the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority and its associated New Smyrna Beach Visitor's Center on State Road 44.

It has been a long journey from the Sunshine State to the Longhorn State and back to the Sunshine State, again.

Such is the life of a professional man, whose job it is is to attract traffic -- people traffic, that is, for overnight hotel and condo rental accommodations, the very essence of the ad authority, funded through the collection of bed taxes shared with the county and state.

On resumes and such, he's John C. Watson, but everyone who knows him or is introduced to him addresses him as "Carl."

With 38 years in the tourism industry, Watson is keenly aware that nothing stays the same and the challenges great.

He wouldn't have it any other way.

"I grew up here and I understand the people and what they like about the New Smyrna-Port Orange area," Watson said, acknowledging it has always been in the shadow of Daytona Beach with its signature race, the Daytona 500, and the World's Most Famous Beach. New Smyrna Beach's shoreline is just as great where driving on the hard sands remains a tradition as well.

Plus, New Smyrna Beach has something Daytona doesn't: The South Jetty where the waves are more pronounced to the delight of surfers of all ages.

"This is the place to be," Watson said. "It's my job to promote the diamond in the rough. Every place you go has its own flavor -- something to sell. Here it's the ocean, the people, what they call the charm."

"This is the place to be," Watson said. "It's my job to promote the diamond in the rough. Every place you go has its own flavor -- something to sell. Here it's the ocean, the people, what they call the charm."

There's also Flagler Avenue on New Smyrna Beach's peninsula with its mix of eclectic shops and eateries, Third Avenue with additional restaurants and shopping plazas, the Mosquito Lagoon in Oak Hill and the mix of shopping and restaurants in Port Orange.

In a way, Watson sees a lot of similarities between New Smyrna as the alternative getaway to Daytona Beach like Cleburne, Texas was to nearby Fort Worth. There, he was the director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce.

Watson was hired last month at annual salary of $70,000, plus $8,000 in health benefits, the same package afforded his predecessor, Tim Hamby, who resigned in May after seven months on the job to take a much-higher salaried position much closer to his Jacksonville-area home.



21st Century 24/7 Internet Newspaper Marketing

This above-published coverage is part of a marketing partnership between Headline Surfer and the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority, which promotes tourism.
HeadlineSurfer is the award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper in New Smyrna Beach serving greater Daytona Beach, Volusia County & Central Florida, via
Headline Surfer is operated by Editor/Publisher Henry Frederick (email:; phone for editorial/advertising: 386-689-2830). 
The Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority markets tourism events through bed tax collections from overnight hotel & other accommodators for the cities of New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Edgewater, Oak Hill and unincorporated Osteen through the New Smyrna Beach Visitor's Center, 2238 State Road 44, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 (Phone: 386-428-1600; website: For calendar events:
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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories narly eveenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in Wst Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.