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Indiana Dunes Tourism Staff & Board Of Directors
Mitch Peters, President:
Mitch joined the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors in 2010 and is appointed by the Porter County Council. Mitch graduated from Valparaiso University with degrees in elementary education and law. He has been an attorney since 1986. Mitch is also a veteran of the United States Navy. He is involved in numerous organizations, including the Respite House, a halfway house for men seeking recovery from addiction and alcohol. In his spare time, Mitch enjoys hunting, fishing, archery and golf.
Scott Tuft, Vice President:
Scott jointed the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors in 2012 and is appointed by Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas. Tuft is director of sales and marketing for Accucraft Imaging in Hammond and is the Account Executive for Elegan Customwear in Valparaiso. He is also an active community volunteer through the Valparaiso Rotary Club and the Valparaiso Boys & Girls Club, and he has served as a volunteer coach for basketball, soccer and baseball. Tuft lives in Valparaiso.
Richard Riley, Treasurer:
Richard joined the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors in 2012 and is appointed by Porter County Commissioner John Evans. Riley is an attorney specializing in real estate zoning for telecommunications structures, and he and his wife, Ann, are also owners of Riley’s Railhouse Bed & Breakfast in Chesterton. Riley has two children, Rebecca and Christopher, and two stepchildren, Angela and Lauren.
Karen Webster, Secretary:
Karen, who previously served on the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors, returned to the board in 2015 and is appointed by Portage Mayor James Snyder. She studied business finance, accounting and elementary education at Franklin College in Franklin, IN and Purdue University Calumet in Hammond. She has been manager of Days Inn in Portage from 1994 to 2006 and again starting in 2014. From 2007 to 2013, she worked for Super 8 in Delavan, WI. Karen has two sons and previously coached youth sports in Portage and, as part of her managing duties at Days Inn, worked with the Elvis FANtasy Fest in Portage to accommodate VIPs and the Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton to accommodate the visiting munchkins.
Dr. John Johnson:
Dr. John Johnson previously served on the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors and was instrumental in the development of the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center and the partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Park. He was asked to serve again by the Porter County Commissioners in 2011. Dr. Johnson, a resident of Valparaiso, has been the proprietor of The Inn at Aberdeen in Valparaiso since 1995. He is also the owner of Immediate Care Center: The Doctor Is In, which is located in Schererville. He serves on the boards of Porter-Starke Services and Pines Village Retirement Center, and he is on the HealthLinc Quality Assurance Committee. He completed his undergraduate degree and medical school at Indiana University.
Julie Jones began serving in 2016, having been appointed by the towns of Kouts and Hebron. Julie is manager of Birky Family Farms Country Gourmet and is a resident of Kouts. Julie’s mother, Carolyn Birky, served on the Indiana Dunes Tourism board for years and Julie decided to get involved as well. Julie is a member of the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, belongs to Open Door Fellowship Church in Kouts and serves on the Kouts Park Board. She and her husband, Tim, have three daughters and one son. She and her husband also enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.
Jesse began serving on the Indiana Dunes Tourism board of directors again in 2017, having previously served serving a term. He is appointed by the Porter County Commissioners. A graduate of Valparaiso High School, Jesse studied film production at University of California, Los Angeles, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Northridge. He also earned his Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University. He owns JBH Productions, Inc. in Valparaiso, a company which does video and film production as well as media consulting. He created and taught for three years the American Citizenship course of Gloria Dei, part of the Northwest Indiana Lutheran Hispanic Mission Society.
Barb joined the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors in 2015 and is appointed by Portage Mayor James Snyder. She studied philosophy at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, IL and Indiana University Northwest in Gary. She is director of the Portage Public Marina. She is active as a volunteer with the Portage American Legion Post #260 and has a son and two grandchildren. Barb has 20 years of boating experience on Lake Michigan and is on the board of the Lake Michigan Yachting Association.
Patrick McEuen was appointed in 2017 to the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors. McEuen, a Portage resident, was appointed by the Porter County Commissioners. A graduate of Hobart High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Wabash College and his Juris Doctor from Indiana University. He owns McEuen Law Office in Portage. He is active in a variety of ways in the communities of Northwest Indiana, including serving on the Portage Township Education Foundation Board.
Catherine Brown was appointed in 2016 to the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors. Catherine, a Valparaiso resident, was appointed by Porter County Commissioner Laura Blaney. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in Spanish from Indiana University. Catherine, who has experience as a teacher, is now one of the owners and operators of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream in Valparaiso.
Lisa Wodrich began serving in 2015, having been appointed by the towns of Chesterton, Porter and Burns Harbor. Lisa attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Indiana University. She and her husband, David, are owners of Third Coast Spice Café and Lemon Tree Mediterranean Grill, both in Chesterton. She has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years throughout Indiana, Southwest Michigan and Chicago. During that time, she spent 12 years as an outside sales representative for a national specialty food distributor and importer based in Maryland. She founded and managed the popular Chesterton’s European Market in downtown Chesterton. She sits on the Family Advisory Board for Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and acts as resource development manager for the For the Love of Chocolate Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships for culinary students specializing in the pastry arts. Lisa resides in Porter with her husband and their two children, Ethan and Abby.
David Hollenbeck, Attorney:
David has been serving as the attorney for Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors since the creation of the organization in 1986. David, a Valparaiso resident, is a partner in the law firm of Blachly, Tabor, Bozik and Hartman. In addition to serving the Indiana Dunes Tourism Board of Directors, he is also the attorney for the Porter County Board of Health and many other government entities. He serves on the Porter County Community Foundation finance committee. David, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Valparaiso University, teaches classes at the Valparaiso University School of Law and is an NCAA clock operator and scorer for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team.
Lorelei Weimer, Executive Director:
The executive director is responsible for directing and leading Indiana Dunes Tourism towards achieving its vision and mission. The director works closely with the board of directors on policy making and business strategies for the organization. The director serves as the primary spokesperson and chief executive officer. Lorelei holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism management from Purdue University Calumet and obtained her Fellow Certified Destination Management Executive certification from Destination Marketing Organization International. Lorelei started her career with Indiana Dunes Tourism in 1991. She currently serves on the Indiana Tourism Council representing Northern Indiana and she is a current member and past board of director of the Indiana Tourism Association. Lorelei currently serves as the treasurer and is a past president of the Board of Directors for Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission. She is currently a board member of the Portage Economic Development Corporation, serves on the Porter County Economic Alliance group, chairs the Dunes-Kankakee Trail initiative and served as a staff member to the Porter County Jobs Cabinet. Lorelei is a member of the Duneland Exchange Club.
Christine Livingston, Assistant Director:
Christine is the assistant director and the marketing director. She is responsible for the development and implementation of marketing strategies to meet the goals and objectives of Indiana Dunes Tourism. This includes managing advertising initiatives, the Indiana Dunes Tourism website and database, photo inventory, and major campaigns designed to draw visitors into Porter County communities. She also assists in managing staff and leads Indiana Dunes Tourism in the executive director’s absence. Christine has a bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Indiana University Northwest. Previously she worked for several nonprofit organizations as program manager and on various outreach and marketing initiatives. She has served as an advisory member of Purdue’s Indiana Water Research Center, and has served on committees for various community projects such as the Porter County Corridor Plan Committee, Duneland School Improvement Committee and Porter County Parks Master Planning Committee. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Coastal Program and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.
Dustin Ritchea, Promotions Director:
The Promotions Director promotes the activities of Indiana Dunes Tourism through media partnerships, including acting as a spokesperson for the organization. The promotions director also oversees the production of several publications, videos, and graphic design projects, as well as the implementation of the internal communications, external communications, crisis, and emergency plans. He is the organization’s primary writer and editor, and he manages the internship program. Dustin has a master’s degree in telecommunications (production and design) from Indiana University and bachelor’s degrees in English and theater arts from Augsburg University. He has experience as an actor, producer, and multimedia specialist, having worked as a digital marketing coordinator for the Gilmore Keyboard Festival and assistant instructor for Indiana University, including a summer internship teaching screenwriting in London, England. Dustin is a porter native and plays piano in a local classic rock band with his father.
Kailey Capuano, Community Engagement Director:
The Community Engagement Director oversees the organization’s social media, handles small graphic design projects, and manages business partnerships and group businesses. One of Kailey’s current special projects is developing Indiana Dunes Kids characters. The Indiana Dunes is a family focused. The new characters will appeal directly to kids. She also writes the blog for our website, organizes influencer visits, and composes itineraries. Kailey earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.
Julie Brown, Special Project Coordinator:
The special projects coordinator is responsible for all of our partnership sales, gathering festival and event information, as well as coupon information, for print pieces and the website. The special projects coordinator also maintains and updates the database for use in mailings, marketing and website purposes. Julie previously operated a licensed home day care business, and worked for Guideposts for Kids/Teens magazines, Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of Commerce, St. Anthony Health System, Pathway Family Center and KPM group. She is active in Boy Scouts of America, Indiana Addictions Coalition, National Autism Association, PFLAG, St. Patrick’s Church and the Duneland community.
Destination Concierge Staff:
The operations director manages and directs the activities of the destination concierge staff. The concierge staff is responsible for opening and closing the visitor center, greeting visitors, assisting visitors with travel information, maintaining accurate visitation records, data input, fulfillment of travel information requests, and assisting with special projects.
Indiana Dunes Tourism relies on volunteers to assist with special projects. Volunteers are used to greet visitors and fulfill requests for travel information.