Events manager to connect city, university

Events manager to connect city, university

By Alan Kozeluh

The city’s new event manager, a recent NIU graduate, plans on involving the university in more events moving forward.

Jessica Struthers received her degree from NIU in December. She worked for the LPGA tour after graduation, planning events and working with volunteers.

“Golf tournament planning is very month to month,” Struthers said. “It’s not very conducive to making future plans.”

The job used to belong to Lindsey Engelsman, who did it for Re:New DeKalb, though Struthers will be working for the Chamber of Commerce.

Engelsman left Re:New DeKalb to work for KishHealth System. Re:New President Frank Roberts said Re:New made the decision to involve a wider area of the city, not just downtown.

“Special events and marketing was really focused on downtown,” Roberts said. “Our thought as an organization was that it would benefit the city and the university if there was a broader scope of special events and marketing.”

Roberts said Re:New DeKalb lacked the resources and people to organize events outside of the downtown area.

Chamber executive director Matt Duffy said the chamber coordinating events is not unique. He said downtown DeKalb would still be a focus but events would expand to more areas of DeKalb, not just NIU.

For Struthers, the move was more of an opportunity to put down roots. She said working for the LPGA involved a lot of travel and she was glad to have the opportunity to stay in the same place for a while. Struthers is a fourth generation DeKalb native.

“This is home for me,” Struthers said. “The thought of being at home and still doing event planning is very appealing to me.”

Struthers hasn’t planned any events yet, as she is going to run the events set up by her predecessor first.