Visit Oak Park names new CEO

New tourism boss comes from Illinois Office of Tourism

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Visit Oak Park, the state-certified convention and visitor bureau for the village — and 17 other communities — has named Eric C. Wagner to serve as its president and chief executive officer.

Wagner, who previously served as assistant deputy director at the Illinois Office of Tourism, succeeds Sara Barnett, who resigned from the position in February.

"Eric's credentials, skill set, and experience with Illinois tourism are exactly what we were looking for in a new president and CEO," Aberdeen Marsh-Ozga, chair of the Visit Oak Park Board of Directors, said in a press release. "Upon meeting Eric, we were additionally impressed by his original thinking and approach to growing tourism in our partner communities."

While at the Office of Tourism, Wagner helped create the "Illinois: Are You Up for Amazing?" campaign, "Illinois Made," and the first LGBTQ marketing campaign, "Amazing for All."

"Eric's work has been instrumental in the growth of Illinois tourism during my tenure as state travel director," Cory M. Jobe, director of the Illinois Office of Tourism, said in the press release. "I know he'll bring the same innovative spirit and strategic talent as he focuses on attracting visitors to the Oak Park area."

Wagner holds a bachelor of arts from North Central College, a master of arts from the University of Miami, and a master of arts in nonprofit management from the University of Chicago.

"The Oak Park area is amazing, and I couldn't be more excited to promote everything that makes Western Cook County a world-class destination," Wagner said. "From our architectural marvels and world-renowned attractions to our local treasures, our communities offer something special and unique for visitors."

In addition to Oak Park, Visit Oak Park provides tourism marketing for the communities of Bellwood, Berkeley, Broadview, Brookfield, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Hillside, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, North Riverside, River Forest, River Grove, Riverside, Schiller Park, and Westchester.


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Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: June 8th, 2018 4:20 PM

Jim: They might mean U of I AT Chicago (UIC, "Circle") where there is a specialization in non-profits in the Master's in Public Administration. There's quite a difference in the prestige of the two universities.

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: June 8th, 2018 3:02 PM

Wishing Wagner the best of success, but the writer needs to do a bit of fact checking. The University of Chicago offers no such "Masters of Arts in Nonprofit Management."

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