When the Omaha Sports Commission was looking to fill a position two years ago, Josh Todd took notice of the opening but didn't act on it.
The organization hired Wes Hall, who would start out as chief operating officer before becoming president and executive director.
"I saw it, and it just kind of piqued my interest," Todd said Monday. "But we were happy here, and we have little ones, and I wasn't quite ready at the time."
A second chance has led to him being hired as Hall's replacement.
The Omaha Sports Commission has announced Todd as the fourth president and executive director for the organization that was created in 2003. The 36-year-old Arizona native will begin his duties shortly before a USA Swimming contingent visits on Feb. 20 and 21 as part of planning for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
And Todd will come with a good grasp of Omaha's place on the sports scene.
"With Omaha, part of the city's brand is sports, and I've always noticed that," he said. "It's a testament to the people that have been there already. The appeal to me was a city that gets behind sports like you guys do. I might be a different style than the previous presidents, but first and foremost the brand was what stood out and what I want to be a part of."
Todd was born and raised in Tempe, and later Director of Sports in Mesa from 2010 to '16. He remained in Mesa while spending time with Connect Sports, which helped connect events with communities, and with Huddle Up Group, a consulting firm that worked with cities and sports commissions.
But Todd has knowledge of the Midwest from attending Fort Hays State — where he played football for the Tigers from 2001 to '04 — and earning his master's in sport management at Wichita State. His wife, Mandy, is from Smith Center, Kansas.
Hall resigned last fall after 14 months as OSC president. Hall had been promoted when Harold Cliff stepped aside shortly after the 2016 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.
NCAA basketball is coming again next month and the U.S. Trials return in 2020, and Todd said the Omaha Sports Commission has a strong history of hosting "incredible events that are the envy of every city in the country.”
“I am excited to work with USA Swimming on the upcoming 2020 Olympic Swim Trials, as well as get to work on recruiting new events to the Omaha area," he said. "Working in this industry with sports commissions and sports planners around the country, I have seen what is available to cities, and to represent Omaha, a sports city that ‘gets it,’ is a true honor."
Donna Kush, chairman of the OSC executive board, praised the leadership of interim President Chris Kircher and director of events Lindsay Toussant during recent months, which included Omaha hosting the U.S. Curling Team Trials in November. She said the Omaha Sports Commission was pleased with the quality of applicants, and narrowed its list to six candidates before interviewing three.
Kush pointed to Todd's relationships through the sports industry and experience in recruiting national events as helping lead to his hire.
“We feel Josh has not only the mechanics needed to excel in this role," Kush said, "but also the leadership skills to strategically evolve the OSC and develop a sustainable model that builds on successful events such as the Swim Trials.”