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Mark Ezell

Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

As Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD), Mark Ezell spearheads the state’s global tourism strategy. He is responsible for building national campaigns that reinforce Tennessee as a world-class destination while fostering long-term growth through revenue and job creation. 

Since 2019, Tennessee achieved record-breaking tourism growth, ranking 11th in the nation for travel spending in 2023. In 2022, the state welcomed 141 million visitors, generating $29 billion in direct spending—a historic 19% increase from the previous year.

Ezell has led transformative initiatives such as the groundbreaking “Kid Reviewed” campaign and introduced Tennessee Playcation, the first-ever toy catalog for travel. He established the Office of Rural Tourism to bolster economic growth in the communities where it’s most needed and spearheaded the creation of Bill Dance Signature Lakes and BikeTN to enhance Tennessee's footprint in outdoor recreation. His contributions continue to broaden the state's influence and cultural awareness with work on ongoing initiatives including the U.S. Civil Rights Trail, Tennessee Music Pathways and Tennessee Songwriters Week.

In 2020, Governor Lee appointed Ezell as the Director of the Economic Recovery Group (ERG) to revitalize the state’s economy amid pandemic-related job losses affecting nearly half a million Tennesseans. Steering a diverse coalition from public and private sectors, Ezell orchestrated Tennessee's economic resurgence. 

Prior to joining Tourist Development, Ezell worked his way from entry-level to eventually serve in a range of senior roles at both his family-owned business Purity Dairies, Inc., as well as Dean Foods, a Fortune 500 Company where he focused on brand development and achieved record profitability. He received national recognition for his work on campaigns including the iconic “Milk Mustache – Got Milk?” campaign.

A seventh-generation Tennessean, Ezell holds a bachelor’s from Lipscomb University and master’s from Tennessee Technological University. He and his wife Martha are active community members, passionate philanthropists and proud parents to four children and grandparents to seven grandchildren.