Indianapolis Downtown Inc. leader Zahn stepping down after 19 years

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Downtown's chief booster is stepping down.

Indianapolis Downtown Inc. announced Thursday morning that President Tamara Zahn plans to leave her position by June. Zahn was IDI's first president and has been in the post for 19 years.

IDI, a not-for-profit charged with marketing, managing and developing the downtown area, said Zahn would leave once a successor is found. The group set a target date of June.

“This is a good time to make this change,” said Zahn in a prepared statement.  “IDI has achieved significant accomplishments in the past 19 years, culminating in downtown’s peak performance on the world stage during Super Bowl 2012.  We have a strong, experienced staff and an engaged board to keep things moving forward.” she said.

Zahn, 58, said she looks forward to taking a break from a "demanding schedule" and "evaluating opportunities that may capture my imagination."

IDI hired a national executive search firm, DHR International, to find a replacement. Jeff Fusile, senior vice president at WellPoint Inc. and a member of IDI’s executive committee, will lead the search committee.

“Tamara’s leadership has been unmatched and her focus on continuous improvement has resulted in downtown Indianapolis being the envy of cities across the country,” Dennis Sponsel, president of RJE Business Interiors and IDI’s board chairman, said in a prepared statement.

Prior to joining IDI, Zahn ran her own real estate consulting business, Zahn Associates, for 15 years.    


  • Tamara Zahn
    Zahn and IDI are no better than the beggers who line the downtown streets in Indianapolis. IDI lives high on taxpayer subsidies and from shaking down merchants. It's activities are duplicated by other groups. IDI has several execs making six figure salaries, who would be lucky to be employed if they left IDI.

    The best thing the Ballard administration can do is pull the plug on IDI and send them packing, while saving the taxpayers a ton of money.
  • Draft Aaron Renn
    Someone needs to start an effort to draft Aaron Renn! Petitions? Letters to the Mayor?
  • Moochie is right
    Aaron Renn would be a great choice.
    • Hire Aaron Renn
      I cannot imagine a better choice. I hope he's interested.
    • Don't Stop at Tamara
      I just think it would be great if Indianapolis Downtown Inc. would hire some leadership that actually lives in Marion County and even (gasp!) downtown. Every day most of the leadership there retreats back to the suburbs. The turnover at that organization has been staggering over the past several years with the exception of some key leadership positions. It could be a really great and effective organization, but they need to show a few more people the door first.
    • Hmmm
      Usually peole are ushered out under the appearance of a ticker tape parade...
    • Hard Act to Follow
      Tamara defined the roll of IDI in Indianapolis. She came in at a difficult time when the roll for IDI was just taking shape. She has done a wonderful job, Indianapolis will miss her in that position.
      In answer to an earlier comment regarding the need for IDI, I would say we need it as much today as we did 20 years ago. We have a huge investment, both public and private, in the downtown that will need constant attention if we are to maintain our competitive position and continue to provide a positive identity for central Indiana. Our economic future depends on the future health of "Center City".
    • Hard Question
      Is Indianapolis Downtown Inc. really relevant anymore?

      The group is a public-private partnership that currently promotes Downtown’s retailers & the cities six cultural districts, defends the cities 50 year parking monopoly, dabbles in city planning & beautification projects, and most recently has taken on the management of the newly renovated Georgia Street.

      But doesn't the tax subsidized Indianapolis Convention and Vistors Bureau (ICVA) do a great job promoting downtown retailers and hospitality industry?

      Doesn't the tax subsidized Develop Indy, Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Indiana Sports Corp, CIB, and Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce promote downtown economic development?

      How much impact does this organization really have anymore?

      Doesn't this organization just duplicate other public/private organizations efforts while taking in over $1 million in tax dollars a year, hoarding almost $8 million slush fund, and paying lavish salaries?

    • Unqualified Hoosiers
      Great idea Steve but everyone of those in position of hiring for the best jobs in Indiana let alone Indianapolis knows you have to go out of state to find someone qualified. That's just the way its done in Hoosierland.
    • hire within
      IDI has done a wonderful job over the past number of years. I'm sure they have a couple of employees already in place that has the vision & ability to continue the work. IDI should bring up one of their own. Saves money, great for the moral and you have people already that know the way!
    • hire within
      IDI has done a wonderful job over the past number of years. I'm sure they have a couple of employees already in place that has the vision & ability to continue the work. IDI should bring up one of their own. Saves money, great for the moral and you have people already that know the way!
    • Goodbye
      Tamara is a nice lady and did a good job, but it's time for a change and downtown could use some new blood!

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