Somervell County Commissioners unanimously decided to hire Frank K. Abbott, a special events manager from Washington state, as the county's public events director. 

Commissioners met in closed session Monday afternoon. Afterward, County Judge Mike Ford made the call to Abbott, who accepted the position. Ford also called the other top seven applicants to let them know of the county's decision.

Abbott was offered a salary of $76,000, plus benefits.

The commissioners court received 24 applications and narrowed down the field to eight applicants. Each one was interviewed by the court. Abbott initially was interviewed by phone, then flew to Texas to interview with the commissioners in person.

Abbott is from Silverdale, Wash., and has more than 12 years of experience in event center management, marketing and property branding, corporate sponsorships, budget analysis and community involvement.

He most recently was the manager at Doubletevents

He had managed the Kitsap County Events Center and Fairgrounds in Bremerton, Wash., for 10 years. He left that position in April 2011.

The center's annual events include sports tournaments, career and business fairs, dog shows, plant sales, antique shows, roller derby, livestock shows, circus and annual Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, a Professional Cowboys Rodeo Association tour stop drawing top cowboys and cowgirls from around the country.

Abbott had grown the rodeo to one of the premier events among the Wrangler Silver Tour Rodeos, the local newspaper, the Kitsap Sun reported.

Ford said in an interview Tuesday that Abbott "had very specific skills that we know we needed to move forward with the (Somervell County) Expo Center."

When he spoke with Abbott's references, all mentioned that Abbott was "meticulous and detail-oriented" and focused on customer service, Ford said. He also is "very personable," he added.

Abbott and his wife, Lori, are equestrians and own horses.

"He's very plugged into the PRCA," Ford said. "They will be moving their horses down here."

Abbott holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and graphic design from the Art Institute of Seattle.

Ford said he at first was concerned that Abbott might experience "culture shock" moving from the misty Pacific Northwest to arid Texas. But he said Abbott pointed out that Somervell County actually receives more rainfall that Kitsap County and said he "loves the Western lifestyle."

During his visit to Glen Rose, Abbott spoke with merchants around the square, went to dinner with commissioners and got to know the town.

"The thing that struck him was that everybody was friendly, everybody spoke, people drove by and waved," Ford said. "They (Abbott and his wife) are so anxious to get down here and be part of the community."

Abbott will start his new job in two to three weeks.