DRI names Ellen Oppenheim interim senior VP

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DESERT RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE

DRI announced today that Ellen Oppenheim has been named the interim senior vice president of finance and administration and chief operating officer for DRI beginning on Aug. 15.

“Ellie has extensive leadership experience in government, the corporate world and higher education. She has been responsible for a wide range of programs, services and facilities,” said Dr. Stephen Wells, DRI president. “I believe her experience in the public sector, the local community and higher education will serve DRI well.”

Oppenheim has directed organizations with up to 8,000 employees and annual operating budgets of $310 million, and has overseen $350 million in capital improvement programs during her career.

She has served as the president and chief executive officer for the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority for the past five years. In higher education, she has held executive positions at both Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She has also been deputy city chief operating officer and deputy city manager for the City of San Diego, general manager for the parks and recreation department in Los Angeles and director of convention, cultural and visitor services in San Jose. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As an interim hire, Oppenheim will be replacing Dr. Cleve McDaniel, who is leaving DRI to be the vice chancellor for finance and administration at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. DRI will be conducting a national search for the permanent position.

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