About Crawford County, Kansas

The most populated county in Southeast Kansas, this area is known for its coal mining heritage, fried chicken, a unique to Kansas habitat for outdoor recreation, and Pittsburg State University, the home of the nation’s only collegiate gorilla mascot. With facilities normally found only in larger communities, the region regularly hosts live entertainment, including traveling Broadway plays; and, national sporting events, including indoor track and field championships.

Explore Crawford County is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) of Crawford County, Kansas. We are more than a guide of where to eat, play, stay, or have your tournament or meeting in Pittsburg or surrounding towns. We inspire travelers to see our community as a destination for experiences they will want to return to. We promote our entire community to leisure travelers, business travelers, meeting professionals, and more. We connect planners with lodging and other event needs. And, we represent tourism and hospitality professionals in our area who serve the traveling public.

Explore Crawford County
P.O. Box 1115
117 W. 4th St.
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Office: +1 (620) 231-1212

Explore Crawford County Advisory Board Members


Pam Henderson
At Large
At Large
Executive Director of Explore Crawford County: Dave Looby
Executive Director of Girard Area Chamber of Commerce: Jessica Ripper
President of Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce: Blake Benson


Expires December 31, 2023Expires December 31, 2024Expires December 31, 2025
Shelby Cannon *
Rae + Kae Boutique

Sookie Fields *
Family Fun Depot & Frisco Event Center

Lynn Grant

LaWana Johnson *
General Manager
Holiday Inn Express and Suites

Jeff McKain
General Manager
Kansas Crossing Casino

Courtney Powell *
General Manager
Comfort Inn and Suites

Sara Vacca
Pittsburg Family YMCA
Pam Henderson *
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran’s Office

Damian Smithhisler *
Associate Athletic Director, Facilities
Robert W. Plaster Center Coordinator
Pittsburg State University Athletics

Brenna Whetzell *
Sales Manager
Hampton Inn & Suites
* Eligible for a second consecutive term

County Commissioners

  • Bruce Blair
  • Tom Moody
  • Carl Woods

Explore Crawford County Employees

Dave Looby
Dave Looby

Executive Director
(620) 231-1212

Began as a team member in November 2021

Awards: A finalist for Explore Minnesota’s 2020 Individual In Tourism Award

Background in tourism: Executive Director for Minneapolis Northwest Tourism from 2007 to 2020. In 2017, he was designated a Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) from the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau’s.

Bemidji State University graduate – Bachelor of Science in Communications with emphasis in Public Relations

Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson

Marketing & Communications Manager
(620) 231-1212

Currently serves as Treasurer of Southeast Kansas Tourism Region

Began as a team member in December 2017

Background, more than 25 years in media: DJ for KKOW AM & FM, web/social producer for KOAM TV/Fox 14 TV, reporter for Columbus Daily Advocate (evening newspaper at the time), and publicity and community outreach for USD 247 Southeast-Cherokee

Pittsburg State University graduate – Bachelor of General Studies (2005) and Master of Arts in Communication (2006)

Pittsburg, Kansas area native

More about Explore Crawford County

Mission Statement

The mission of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, also known as Explore Crawford County, is to promote travel and tourism in Crawford County, Kansas through sporting events, conventions, conferences and general travel. Utilize attractions, facilities and accommodations to promote travel and economic growth in Crawford County.

Advisory Board Duties & Responsibilities

The Advisory Board provides input to the Crawford County CVB as it seeks to fulfill its mission.

  • Full Board Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday every other month at 8:00 a.m. CST. (February, April, June, August, October & December) – Plus, the Annual Meeting is 2nd Wednesday of January at 12 p.m.
  • Executive Committee Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday every other month at 8 a.m. CST (March, May, July, September & November).
  • Budget review

Application to be considered for the Advisory Board

All applicants must be residents of Crawford County, Kansas. Download the file below, limit all answers to available space, then email the document to dlooby@visitcrawfordcounty.com.