Working in the tourism industry, there is no shortage of fun for Bob Warren.
Proof of his prolific career decorates his office at the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau, where he’s worked as executive director since 2011. Warren started working in tourism in 1987 and was the director of tourism in his native city of Galveston, Texas. He also worked as the president/CEO of the Panama City Beach Florida Convention and Visitors Bureau, and came to Evansville from visitgalena.org, an organization focused on marketing the city of Galena, Illinois.
In Warren’s office are mementos from his career such as a program where he judged the Miss Texas contest, which featured Eva Longoria in 1999, a shovel and hardhat from the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel groundbreaking in Evansville, a framed caricature by Doug Harmon, executive director of the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, signed by all the board members and presented to him at his final meeting for the Texas Travel Industry Association, as well as many other items.
“I’ve had a very successful career in this industry,” says Warren. “I think it does put me at peace to have all the things I have experienced in my career in the office with me. It feels like home.”
Warren’s office is located in the Convention & Visitors Bureau, 401 S.E. Riverside Drive, in the Pagoda, which was designed by architect Harry Boyle of the firm Brubaker, Stern, and Boyle and built by contractor Charles Kleiderer in Sunset Park in 1912.
“It’s the coolest office I’ve ever had,” Warren says of the Pagoda, which was remodeled in 1995. The office spaces also underwent a $300,000 remodel in October 2012, which lasted around eight months.
The lower level holds the administrative offices, a conference room, and a reception area with oriental red lighting hanging from the ceiling, a river stone wallpaper, and grey, white, and red accents to highlight the Pagoda and the Ohio Riverfront. On the first floor is the visitor information area with staff to answer questions, exhibits, and brochures.
Warren has two years left on his contract and says he plans to retire and most likely relocate to Florida with his wife Vickie of 30 years in May.
“What’s going to occur here over the next 10 to 15 years is exciting,” says Warren. “With the Indiana University medical (education and research partnership expansion) and convention center hotel, you’re going to see more activity, a more robust Downtown. I won’t be here to see it, but I see continued growth just with what we have on the table right now.”
For more information about the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 812-421-2200 or see visitevansville.com.