Former fundraiser for KU Endowment chosen to lead community’s tourism industry

A former fundraiser with the Kansas University Endowment Association has been named as the next leader of the community’s tourism industry.

Fred Conboy was announced Friday as the next president and CEO of Destination Management Inc., the nonprofit group that oversees the management of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area.

Conboy, a Lawrence native, currently serves as the executive director of development for the University of California-Irvine. He previously worked in fundraising capacities for Kansas University Endowment Association.

“I feel this role is truly a calling,” Conboy said in a statement.

Conboy said he was excited about carrying on the efforts to increase the “heritage tourism” industry that is growing up around the area’s history related to the Civil War. He also said he sees emerging opportunities to attract sporting events to the community, especially if a proposal for a public-private youth fieldhouse moves forward.

“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,” he said.

Conboy is expected to begin his new duties on June 11.

Conboy is replacing Judy Billings, who is retiring after leading the community’s tourism efforts for the last 30 years.