|By Julie Dunn, The Denver Post|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 25, 2005 - Eugene Dilbeck is back in tourism.
Dilbeck -- who spent 10 years leading the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau before being fired in November 2003 -- has been named founding executive director of the new Center for Travel & Tourism at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, the school announced Thursday.
"I'm very excited, this is the perfect fit for me," he said. "I've spent 27 years in the tourism industry at both the state and city level, and this gives me the opportunity to take that experience and bring it to a great institution and apply it to a business environment."
Dilbeck, 62, was fired after losing the confidence of the convention bureau board. At the time, there were media reports of convention bureau employees attending a meeting at a local strip club and a review of the bureau's financial records by the city auditor.
Dilbeck said he spent the past year or so taking care of his ill mother, doing consulting work and restoring a vintage 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air hard-top.
"It's top of the line," he said. "My wife and I trailered it from Florida to Chicago to Idaho and places in between. We've had a fun time doing that." But the tourism industry continued to beckon.
"It's been a full year," he said. "But I'm excited to be back." The center will focus on education, research, policy development and forecasting.
"(Dilbeck) has a long, successful history with the travel and tourism industry -- and he was available -- so we took the opportunity to ask him to be the founding executive director," said Glyn Hanbery, Daniels' interim dean.
It will be funded for the first two years by Denver businesswoman Joy Burns, chairwoman of the DU Board of Trustees. After that, the center is expected to become self-funded through endowments, Hanbery said.
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