Coalition Names Executive Director
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[February 23, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- The Looking for Lincoln Heritage
Coalition has named Hal Smith, a native of Springfield, to head the
economic development and tourism organization. Smith has an
extensive background in marketing, communications, media and
governmental affairs in both the public and private sectors. As
executive director, he will be working with the associate director,
Nicky Stratton, a veteran of local tourism efforts, who will
continue managing the day-to-day affairs of the coalition.
"I am excited to come back home to work on such an interesting
historic economic development and tourism effort for Illinois,"
Smith said. "I know firsthand Lincoln is an international figure
admired across the globe. This assignment represents a unique
opportunity to build upon the coalition's efforts to develop and
market Illinois' historic sites that are a part of the Lincoln
In his role as executive director of Looking for Lincoln, Smith
will be working to expand the marketing, promotion and development
efforts of the coalition, at a time when the responsibilities of the
organization may be expanded, subject to pending federal designation
as a National Heritage Area.
"Hal's experience and talents are extraordinary and match
perfectly with the opportunities that lie ahead for our
organization," said Tom Martin, board chairman. "He can help elevate
and expand our efforts to market our region to visitors interested
in the Lincoln legacy."
Smith was born and raised in Springfield, returned nine years ago
from Atlanta, Ga., and continued his international marketing duties
from here. From 1977 to 1985 he was a senior staff adviser to U.S.
Sen. Charles H. Percy, responsible for major Illinois projects,
including early development and funding of the Lincoln Home Historic
Site, the Central Illinois Expressway and replacement of Lock and
Dam 26 on the Mississippi River, among many others. Following his
work in the Senate, he administered Illinois' Technology
Commercialization Program and was deputy director for marketing at
the Illinois Lottery.
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Since that time, Smith has worked in the private sector for and
consulted with a variety of lottery, gaming and entertainment
companies, including nearly 10 years working with Goodson
Productions of Los Angeles, Calif. The Goodson family -- Mark and
Jonathon Goodson -- created some of the most popular television game
shows of all time, from the earliest days of television. Smith also
helped pass legislation and start lotteries in Florida, Georgia,
Tennessee, North Carolina and New Mexico, working all across America
and globally, marketing lotteries and licensing television formats
for domestic and foreign production.
The Looking for
Lincoln Heritage Coalition, operated as a 501(c)(3)
organization, is consortium of Illinois sites and communities that
share the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. The goal of the organization is
to interpret and market the sites in a way that creates the ultimate
visitor experience and generates the economic benefits derived from
increased tourism. The communities are linked to one another, as
well as to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, to
provide both educational and cultural experiences for visitors.
Looking for Lincoln
Heritage Coalition file received from
Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of