John Groh, CDME, is President & CEO of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – a position he’s held since July 2009. He also serves as the president of RACVB’s Charitable Foundation. Prior to joining the RACVB, he was executive vice president of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Within the destination marketing industry, John has served on the boards of the Illinois Council of Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Destinations International and Destinations International Foundation, including terms as chair of ICCVB and the foundation.
John believes that to achieve success in the DMO arena you need to understand that we conduct business wrapped in politics. In recent years, RACVB co–coordinated a multi–agency $60 million effort to expand existing indoor and outdoor sports tourism venues and create a new indoor, hardcourt facility. RACVB’s award–winning sports marketing program is well–know and well–respected among other cities that seek to benefit from sports tournaments.
Under John’s leadership, RACVB has prioritized destination activation, which has resulted in such CVB–owned and produced events as Stroll on State, a holiday festival that now draws 85,000 people to downtown Rockford, and CRE8IV: transformation art –a multi–site public art festival.
John received his B.A. from Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota and then earned an MBA degree from Northern Illinois University. He has presented numerous speeches and presentations at professional conferences throughout the nation, including at the annual conferences of Destinations International, Upper Midwest CVB Association, the National Association of Sports Commissions Symposium, and US Travel Association. He was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois and together with his wife, Kaylene, has three sons. He can be reached at +firstname.lastname@example.org.