EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Alexis Berggren, who came to Evansville in 2017 as general manager of Old National Events Plaza, is now the community's top tourism official.
Berggren was hired Thursday as CEO of the City-County Convention & Visitors Bureau (branded publicly as Visit Evansville), in a 7-0 vote by the bureau's board. She replaces Jim Wood, who is leaving in January after a two-year stay.
The bureau's board considered candidates inside and outside the community, and over the opposition of some, it did not utilize a professional search firm.
Berggren, though, possesses all qualifications the agency needs, said Joe Kiefer II, board president. Berggren had served on the CVB board, but she stepped down to apply for the CEO position.
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Before coming to Evansville to run ONEP, Berggren worked in managerial roles in the Council Bluffs (Iowa), Portland, Los Angeles and New Orleans markets.
Kiefer said in a news release that Berggren's "vision, existing community relationships and fiscal responsibility make her well-suited for this new role. We are confident that Alexis will bring the energy, skills and knowledge necessary to keep our momentum moving forward for years to come."
The tourism industry is in recovery mode after COVID halted a lot of activity, but bureau officials say youth sports tournaments are bringing some business back to Evansville
Deaconess Sports Park, which hosts youth softball and baseball, will have synthetic infields for 2022, and the bureau has discussed potential expansions of the facility.
Continued growth in youth sports events, as well as restoring more local convention business, are priorities of the bureau in 2022. Tourism activities support nearly 5,000 jobs in the city and county.
Berggren signed a two-year contract paying $160,000 per year. Wood, the outgoing CEO, made $170,000 for each of his two years in Evansville.
Berggren said in a news release she's eager to get to work.
“Visit Evansville has a strong team in place with whom I am excited to collaborate, and I am certain we have the talent and skills to continue to grow this region," she said. "Evansville’s unique strengths as a central location with convention and gaming facilities, along with its large sports complexes and supportive local leadership, position it to grow as a destination market for years to come. Continued tourism industry growth improves not only the visitors’ experience but enhances the quality of life for all our region’s residents.”
This article originally appeared on Evansville Courier & Press: Visit Evansville names Alexis Berggren CEO