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Leahy eager to develop Elmhurst's new communications position

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 9:41 a.m. CDT
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(Mari Grigaliunas - mgrigaliunas@shawmedia.com)
Dan Leahy of Bolingbrook started Monday as Elmhurst's first communications manager. (Mari Grigaliunas - mgrigaliunas@shawmedia.com)

ELMHURST – Dan Leahy, the city's new communications manager, plans to not only be a familiar face at City Hall, but around town as well.

"It might be common practice for me to wait for traffic to kind of clear a little bit when I get off work and do a little post work run," Leahy said.

He admits he's no marathon runner, yet, but he and his oldest son, who runs cross country at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, enjoy the sport.

Leahy, a Bolingbrook resident, started in Elmhurst on Monday after about seven years as marketing and communications manager at the Bolingbrook Park District.

"I felt like we had really advanced things and done a lot of really great things there, but I was kind of hitting the ceiling with Bolingbrook," Leahy said.

Leahy said while he knows any new position comes with challenges, he's excited to have a chance to set up his own communication channels in Elmhurst, which has never had a communications manager.

"It appealed to me that it was a first-time position," Leahy said.

He expects to hit the ground running with day-to-day operations like issuing news releases or putting out important information to the community.

"I'm thinking about three months in terms of knowing the landscape and really implementing things," Leahy said of starting any new communication initiatives in the city.

During his time in Bolingbrook, the park district launched and relaunched its website, established all new social media accounts and launched a special recreation association.

"All of those things took a lot of thought in terms of communication and what the message needs to be," Leahy said.

He plans to do a complete review and audit of Elmhurst's website to find out how residents use it. He also wants to determine the roles social media, robo calls, texts and emails will play in the city's efforts to streamline city services.

"It's a need. Cities and local government agencies are getting asked for more and more communication from their residents," Leahy said.

He is aware of Findzall Community Marketing, whose contract the city recently renewed through the end of the year, and plans to make recommendations about where his and Findzall's roles may overlap after he's had a chance to review Findzall's duties.

Leahy mentioned the Hahn Street Redevelopment, the Addison Avenue Parking Deck and retail development in Elmhurst were exciting projects.

"It's an established town that is really going through a makeover now," Leahy said.

While he talked about showing off all the great parts of Elmhurst, Leahy also plans to be open in communicating with residents.

"We were very transparent at Bolingbrook, and I see that being central to my role at Elmhurst, too," Leahy said.

The avid golfer lives with his wife Marianne and two sons, Camden, 16, and Tyler, 15. As a self-proclaimed foodie, he's also looking forward to finding all the best spots to grab a bite in Elmhurst.

Leahy said he's eager to get to work and prove the value of this new role within the city.

"Overall my goal is to produce more consistent communication across whatever channels that [residents] use," Leahy said.

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Know more

To contact Tim Leahy, Elmhurst's new communications manager, call 630-530-6018 or emaildan.leahy@elmhurst.org.

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