Executive director since 2007, Rick Walls leads the preeminent Hall of Fame in MLB, which under his tenure has experienced growth in revenue, attendance, membership, and boasts an extensive event schedule that includes biennial Induction festivities and the much anticipated Induction Gala. Previously, he held positions with The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc. (NFF) including executive director of the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. (2005-07) and director of operations, director of public relations, special projects/East region coordinator from 1997-2005 at its headquarters in Morristown, NJ. There he oversaw national membership, chapters, awards programs, tabulation of the Bowl Championship Series Standings, and produced its annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in NY City. After an internship at WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati in 1990, he served as the collections manager and special projects coordinator for the College Football Hall of Fame until 1995. A native of Athens, Ohio and graduate of Ohio University, Rick resides in Milford, OH with his wife Julie, daughter Hailey, and son Tyler.
Born and raised on Cincinnati's West Side, Chris Eckes has been a Reds fan since he attended his first Reds game in 1978 at the age of six. Chris graduated summa cum laude with a degree in history from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 2000. He interned at the Andrew Jergens Company for a year assisting in the establishment of the company's corporate archive. Concurrent to attending school, Chris worked as a manager in the Visitor Services department at the Cincinnati Museum Center where he was employed from 1996-2004. He was hired one month before the opening of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum in August of 2004. Over the years his responsibilities have expanded to include daily management of all museum operations, oversight and care of the museum's artifact collection and the design of museum exhibits including "Edd Roush and the 1919 World Series" and "PETE: The Exhibit", which explored the playing career of baseball's all-time hit leader, Pete Rose.
A native of Beavercreek, Ohio, Mark Harlow earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Earlham College, where he also was a member of the varsity football and rugby teams. He then earned a master's degree in sport management from the United States Sports Academy. Prior to joining the Reds, Mark has enjoyed a unique 20+ year career in athletics/business management, all in the Cincinnati area. This includes stints as an athletic director, sports travel manager, and manufacturing sales management positions. Additional athletic pursuits have included over 17 years as a player and administrator for the Queen City Rugby Club of Cincinnati, and as an assistant coach with the Cincinnati Marshals Indoor Football Club in 2006.
Ken Freeman grew up in Okeana, Ohio, and earned zoology degrees from The Ohio State University and Miami University. Before joining the Reds, Ken worked as a program coordinator in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's Education Department, taught biology at the University of Cincinnati, and conducted aquatic research at Lake Erie. Some of his earliest childhood memories come from Riverfront Stadium, beginning with George Foster tipping his cap to him from left field. He was in attendance for hit No. 4192, saw Eric Davis hit for the cycle, and screamed with 55,000-plus fans as Billy Bates scored the winning run in Game 2 of the 1990 World Series.
A native of South Bend, Ind., Colin Ethier graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in English. He served as the public relations intern for eight months at the College Football Hall of Fame, where he was responsible for creating press releases and coordinating interviews between the media and Hall of Fame inductees. Colin then went on to earn a master's of education in sport administration from Xavier University. For the past 18 months, Colin has served as both an intern and part-time employee with the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum assisting in special events.
A Northern Kentucky native, Ellie Fairbanks has been a Reds fan since she was born on Opening Day. Possessing a bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky and a master's degree from the University of Cincinnati, she is responsible for the Hall of Fame's membership program that boasts of 5,000 members. Prior to joining the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, Ellie worked at Fifth Third Asset Management, where she was responsible for public relations, communications, and marketing initiatives. Ellie has also interned at Cincinnati Magazine and CET (Cincinnati Public Television). She has missed only one Opening Day game in the last 15 years, and some of her fondest memories include being in attendance for the inaugural game at Great American Ball Park and seeing the Reds clinch the National League Central title in 2010.
A native of Richmond, Ind., Greg Rhodes is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up rooting for the Reds of the 1950s and 1960s, listening to the play-by-play and stories of former Reds announcer Waite Hoyt. Rhodes was named the executive director of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum when it opened in 2004 and served in that capacity until retiring from the position in July 2007. Rhodes has continued to serve as team historian and remains active in speaking engagements regarding the history of Reds baseball. He is the host of the Reds Hall of Fame highlight moments heard prior to each Reds game on the Reds Radio Network pregame show. He has co-authored six books on the Cincinnati Reds, including Redleg Journal and Reds in Black and White, both winners of the The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award. A former social studies teacher, Rhodes worked for the Cincinnati Historical Society from 1987-'92, helped plan the creation of the new history museum at the Museum Center, served as a former president of the board of Historic Southwest Ohio, been the chairman of the local chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is past-president of the Cincinnati Red Stockings vintage baseball team.