Shawna Lode, the daughter of Marlin and Sherry Lode of Cherokee and a 1992 graduate of Aurelia High School, has been selected as the new Director of the Iowa Tourism Office.
Lode will replace Nancy Landess, who retired from that position in June.
Lode currently serves as the Commmunications Director for the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA), a position she has held since May, 2005. Prior to that, Lode served as the Public Relations Manager of the Iowa Tourism Office for seven years and as the Director of the Burlington Area Convention and Tourism Bureau for more than two years. She also received the Governor's Excellence Award (for achievements and exemplary service to the state of Iowa) in 2007, and the Fred Burns Award from the Midwest Travel Writers Association (for outstanding service to travel writers) in 2002.
Bret Mills, the Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) said, "I am very pleased to welcome Shawna to the Iowa Department of Economic Development as the Director of our Tourism Office. She brings multifaceted experience in the tourism industry from both a community and state perspective, as well as a knowledge and understanding of the role of a state department in supporting and advancing the work being done at a local, regional and state level."
Tourism, the second leading industry in the state of Iowa ( behind agriculture), is a $6.4 billion industry in Iowa, employing nearly 65,000 people statewide and generating more than $303 million in state taxes.
Lode holds a BA degree from Buena Vista University and a Masters from Drake University. She lives with her husband James and their son Paxton in Johnston, and assumed her duties with IDED on September 17, 2010.