Visitors bureau to hire new director by week's end

CHAMPAIGN – A new executive director for the Champaign County Convention & Visitors Bureau could be hired later this week, the chairman of the bureau's board of directors said Monday.

The three finalists included:

– Jayne DeLuce, associate director of marketing for Campus Recreation at the University of Illinois.

– Robert Lukens, public relations manager for the Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau, based in Lansing.

– Lucas Thurman, sports manager for the Champaign Park District and executive director of the Champaign County Sports Commission.

However, Lukens said he was notified Monday afternoon that he had not been selected.

All three finalists were interviewed by the bureau's executive committee, as well as by a staff-based committee and a "stakeholders" committee, said Teri Legner, the bureau's chair and interim director.

Reference checks were done, and an announcement could be made this week, she said.

The bureau's previous director, Scott Hockman, resigned in mid-June after three years on the job.

Legner said about 50 people applied for the position, and she forwarded 22 of the resumes to the executive committee for consideration.

The committee chose eight candidates for telephone interviews, and following those, four candidates were selected for face-to-face interviews.

One of those, a convention bureau director from Ohio, dropped out of the running the day before the interviews because of illness, Legner said.

The board is seeking someone with strong leadership capabilities; written and verbal communications skills, including listening skills; events and tourism experience; strategic planning experience; organizational and financial management skills, and strong ethics.

"The important thing is to have someone who is a leader for the organization and has strong communication skills," she said.

Legner said the board was looking at a salary between $70,000 and $80,000 but "has some flexibility" in setting it. She said the previous director was paid about $77,000 a year.

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