Jake Oakman

Executive Director
White River State Park Development Commission

Jake Oakman serves as executive director of White River State Park. The only urban state park in the country, White River State Park is one of the largest and most visited cultural attractions in Indiana, welcoming around 3 million visitors annually.

Under Jake’s leadership, White River State Park has seen an increase in park visitation and record-setting years for revenue. Additionally, the park is undergoing an extensive repair and maintenance program totaling nearly $4 million of investment in park infrastructure.  Jake is leading the efforts to extend the footprint of White River State Park along the west bank of the White River adjacent to Elanco’s new global headquarters. When completed, this will be the largest addition to the park since its founding in the early 1980s.

With over a decade of destination marketing, attraction leadership, and government relations experience, Jake is a respected leader in Indiana’s tourism industry. He previously served as director of communications and media relations for Visit Indiana. In this role he helped launch a new tourism branding campaign, leading to record visitors and tourism spending each year of the campaign. He was also part of the team that developed the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay to commemorate 200 years of Indiana statehood. Serving as the park’s executive director brings Jake’s career full circle. His first full-time job in Indianapolis was in White River State Park with the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field.

Before leading White River State Park, Jake served as Governor Eric Holcomb’s primary speechwriter and liaison for international engagement. During the 2020 campaign, Jake was director of strategic communications on the governor’s senior campaign team. Reelected in a landslide, in 2020 Holcomb earned the most votes for a gubernatorial candidate in Indiana history.

Additional experience includes serving as Lt. Governor Holcomb’s director of communications, deputy press secretary to Governor Mitch Daniels and director of the IUPUI Student Foundation. Jake is a member of the Indiana Arts Commission, the board of trustees for the National Institute of Fitness and Sports (NIFS), and serves on the boards of Visit Indy, Downtown Indy, Inc., and Tourism Tomorrow Indy.

Jake earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University where he served as student body president his senior year. Jake was born in South Bend, Indiana and grew up in Springfield, Ohio. He is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the Indiana University Hoosiers. He lives in the Holy Cross Neighborhood in downtown Indianapolis.


Joe Bill Wiley

Commission Chair
Principal | Capital Cities, LLC

Jim Isch

Commission Vice-Chair & Treasurer

Phyllis Boyd

Director | Indy Parks and Recreation

William A. Brown, Jr.

Principal/President | Ratio Architects Inc.

Lou Gerig

President | Sease Gerig & Associates

Brad Rateike

Principal | Bar Communications

Adam D. Thies

Associate Vice President of Capital Planning | Indiana University

Laurie Thornton

Director of Government Affairs | CenterPoint Energy

Thomas Wheeler

Partner | Frost Brown Todd LLC

Emeritus Commissioners

Dawn Tabler

Emeritus Commissioner

Robert Wagner

Emeritus Commissioner


Andrea Hunley

Democrat – District 33

Justin Moed

Democrat – District 97

Bob Cherry

Republican – District 53

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