Governor taps his former speech writer to lead White River State Park

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Jake Oakman

Jake Oakman, who has a history in tourism and Republican state politics, has been appointed executive director for the White River State Park Development Commission by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, the governor’s office announced Thursday.

Oakman will succeed Carolene Mays-Medley, who stepped down Oct. 15 after five years in the post to pursue a career in inspirational public speaking and create a mentorship program for black leaders. He’ll begin his tenure Jan. 3.

Oakman most recently has worked as the director of strategic communications for the Indiana Republican State Committee. Before that, he worked for Holcomb as his special assistant, serving as the governor’s primary speech writer and adviser on communication strategies.

He previously worked at the Indiana Office of Tourism Development as the director of communications and media relations. In that role, Oakman helped develop and launch the state’s first multi-state tourism branding campaign in nearly a decade. Oakman’s first job in Indianapolis was at White River State Park working as a ticket sales executive for the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field.

“Jake has long been devoted to making Indiana a better place to work, live, play, study and stay,” Holcomb said in written remarks. “He will take his passion and commitment to making Indiana a global destination and build upon the current successes of one of our state’s crown jewels, the White River State Park.”

Oakman received an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and serves as a member of the Indiana Arts Commission.

The Indiana General Assembly created the White River State Park Development Commission in 1979 as a quasi-governmental agency. The commission oversees the White River State Park’s attractions and destinations. The 250-acre park is home to the TCU Amphitheater, the Indiana State Museum, the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Eiteljorg Museum, Victory Field and the NCAA Hall of Champions.

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