Jeff Jarnecke has been hired as the new executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka, the destination marketing organization for the area. Jarnecke succeeds Rob DeCleene, who announced plans last month to step down from the role after more than 10 years to become vice chancellor for university relations and advancement at Indiana University South Bend.
Jarnecke most recently served as executive director of venues for the city of South Bend, where he managed a more than $18 million budget and oversaw operations at venues including the Century Center, the Morris Performing Arts Center, and the Palais Royale.
“Jeff is well thought of in our community and we believe him to be a talented, visionary, strategic, and results-oriented thought leader,” said Jeff Rea, chief executive officer of the South Bend Regional Chamber. “He brings a track record of demonstrated success from his time at the NCAA, the City, IUPUI, and the RCA Tennis Championships. He joins a strong team here at the Chamber and together they’ll drive additional hotel room nights and tourism activity for our region.”
The organization says Jarnecke’s background includes more than 20 years of leadership and management experience. He previously worked with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, headquartered in Indianapolis, where he provided strategic and operational leadership and oversaw a $171 million budget.
“I plan to utilize my leadership and management experiences to help drive tourism in our area,” said Jarnecke. “During my time with the City, I’ve developed some wonderful relationships with people in the community, including many key tourism stakeholders, as well as hospitality and hotel partners. With a terrific team and tremendous foundation at VSBM, I look forward to further highlighting all St. Joseph County has to offer and building upon our destination appeal.”
Jarnecke will begin his new role in June.