POSTED July 18, 2018

Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel has announced the appointment of Russell Shearer as executive chef. With over a decade of experience working in hospitality kitchens across the country, most recently at JW Marriott Chicago, Shearer will oversee the hotel’s culinary operation, including one of Chicago’s hottest rooftop destinations, Raised. 

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu formerly the Western Culinary Institute) in 2007, Shearer got his start in the culinary industry at Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront as a cook and worked his way up to lead cook and then sous chef at Denver Marriott Tech Center Hotel. In 2012, Shearer moved to Chicago and began working at JW Marriott Chicago as a sous chef and was promoted to senior sous chef in 2014. During his time at the JW Marriott Chicago, Shearer focused his industry expertise on embracing seasonality, locality, and sustainability to create luxury crafted culinary experiences for all guests.  

“Russell’s strong background and experience working in a variety of cities will aid in bringing a fresh new perspective to the food and beverage program at Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel,” says Hassan El-Neklawy, general manager of Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel. “We are excited to welcome Russell to the team and look forward to his continued success in providing guests with top level culinary experiences.” 

Set against the dramatic skyline on the banks of the Chicago River, Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel is just minutes from downtown shopping, theaters and restaurants. Their chic rooftop bar, Raised, also puts a spin on the city’s booming rooftop bar scene. Located on the 3rd floor of the hotel, the indoor/outdoor destination invites the vibrant energy from the city streets below. Staytion Market & Bar, the hotel’s lobby bar and restaurant, is one of the city’s hottest new eateries, providing a trendy nightlife scene. Staytion’s eclectic menu features unique street food with a Chicago flair, specialty handcrafted cocktails and local hops. Merging the business of the Loop with the pleasure of State Street shopping and Chicago’s Theater District, the hotel invites discovery at every turn. 

The Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority (RSCVA) announced the addition of Madeja Metcalf as the regional director of convention sales, with responsibility for soliciting meetings and conventions throughout the Midwest.


The Greater St. Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCCVB) has named DeAnn Wagner as Interim Executive Director.

Wagner’s main goal in this interim role is to increase awareness for the greater St. Charles I1 area.

“In the last twelve years, I’ve grown to love this community with its treasure trove of unique meeting spaces, attractions, and events, and I want everyone to experience them,” said Wagner.

Wagner brings more than a decade of experience in the tourism industry to her credit.


The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) has promoted Nick Povalitis to Director of Sports Development. Povalitis will work to secure professional and amateur sporting events and tournaments that will generate economic development for the Rockford region.