DMI names next president and CEO

DMI/City of Lawrence News Release

Friday, April 27, 2012

Contact: Megan Gilliland, City of Lawrence communications manager, (785) 832-3406

DMI names next President and CEO

(Lawrence, Kan.) – The Destination Management, Inc. (DMI) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the hiring of its next President and CEO. Fred Conboy has accepted the position and will begin his duties as of June 11. Conboy is a Lawrence native who currently serves as the Executive Director of Development for the University of California – Irvine. 

“I am proud to return to my beloved hometown and serve our community in advancing the mission of DMI,” said Conboy. “I feel this role is truly a calling. I am passionate about being a torchbearer for the heritage tourism traditions started by Judy Billings three decades ago; and I am committed to becoming a trailblazer for Freedoms Frontier in partnership with the communities in 41 counties along the border of Kansas and Missouri in celebrating and promoting their own compelling destinations.”

A career fundraising professional, Conboy will have multiple roles to fill as the DMI President/CEO. DMI is the umbrella organization that oversees the Lawrence Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, and works with other Douglas County historical societies and museums to manage resources and promote heritage and cultural tourism. Conboy replaces Judy Billings who announced her retirement in fall of 2011 and has agreed to stay on in a very limited fashion with DMI until Conboy is available to be in Lawrence full-time.

“I am particularly excited by the promising opportunities to promote and attract sporting events to our community,” said Conboy. “A public-private partnership can create a new, sustainable source of convention, hotel and business revenues assisted by the robust sports marketing arm of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
Conboy brings to the position over 29 years of fundraising, management, marketing, communications, volunteer recruitment and strategic planning experience. He has worked for UC - Irvine for nearly five years and previously served in similar capacities with the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, Arizona State University and the University of Kansas.

“We are fortunate indeed that Fred Conboy has decided to return to Lawrence to provide strong leadership for Destination Management, Inc.,” said Deanell Reece Tacha, DMI Board Chair. “This is a critical time for tourism in this region, for Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, and for the development of the rich historical and cultural assets in this region. Fred’s background, interests, and experience make him remarkably qualified to impact positively the future in all of these areas. His enthusiasm for his new responsibilities is contagious and energizing. The DMI Board looks forward to working with him. We are so grateful for all that Judy Billings has done to promote Lawrence, the state, and the region. Her leadership has inspired all of us, and provides a base for significant progress in the future.”

Billings’ retirement celebration is set for May 2 at the Carnegie Building. She leaves the organization knowing that Conboy will provide the leadership necessary to further the mission and vision of the DMI Board. “Thanks to the support of so many people in Lawrence, Douglas County and the state of Kansas, I have had an incredibly rewarding and satisfying career here,” said Billings. “I’m proud to have been a partner in some wonderful events and accomplishments in the past few decades. I believe Fred Conboy will be a tremendous asset to the community and will provide strong leadership in the new and exciting things ahead.” 

Conboy looks forward to meeting with community members and beginning work on his many work plans for DMI. He stated, “On all fronts, I am inspired by the optimism expressed by Langston Hughes, ‘We have tomorrow, Bright before us, Like a flame’.”

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