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I’m Ben van Loon and I like to create things.
By day I serve as managing director for the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate (AFIRE), where I oversee the association’s communications, publications and research, creative direction, and thought leadership, including serving as editor-in-chief of AFIRE’s award-winning Summit Journal. I’m also an adjunct professor of communications at Northeastern Illinois University, where I have taught public relations since 2018.
By night I’m a strategy consultant, writer, editor, photographer, designer, cyclist, urban explorer, and proud Chicagoan.
I have nearly fifteen years of experience working for global firms, boutique agencies, nonprofits, associations, and consultancies. I specialize in integrated communications strategy development, reputation management, public relations, creative direction, and leadership.
I’m passionate about cities, urbanism, design, sustainability, globalism, alternative transportation and energy, philosophy, and challenging orthodoxies.
I have a large portfolio of writing, editorial, academic, design, marketing, and public relations work—and several awards recognizing these efforts over the years. And from 2011 to 2015, I served as founder and editor-in-chief of Anobium Publishing, a boutique literary publishing interest focused on outsider and experimental art and writing.
I have a hold a certificate in editing from the University of Chicago; a master’s degree in communications and media from Northeastern Illinois University; and dual bachelor’s degrees in English and philosophy from North Park University, where I graduated magna cum laude.
– 2021 Ragan’s/PR Daily, Editor of the Year
– 2021 Silver Stevie/American Business Award, Communications Professional of the Year
– 2021 AVA Digital Platinum Award Winner for Communications
– 2020 GlobeSt/Real Estate Forum Top Marketing Influencer in Commercial Real Estate
– 2016 Oxford Bibliographies Cinema and Media Studies Award
– 2016 Eddie & Ozzie Award, “Best Single Article in Technology,” FOLIO
– 2015 Distinguished Student Speaker, Northeastern Illinois University
– 2015 Library Award for Excellence in Research, Northeastern Illinois University
– 2015 IAP Grant, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events
– 2014 IAP Grant, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events
– 2014 Award of Merit, Northeastern Illinois University
– 2013 Satire Award, The NewerYork
– Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate
– Northeastern Illinois University
– Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
– World Business Chicago
– Aileron Communications
– Cotter Consulting
– Guerrero Howe Custom Media
– University of Chicago, Certificate in Editing
– Northeastern Illinois University, MA, Communications and Media
– North Park University, BA, English; BA, Philosophy
– Certificate Program in Association Leadership, American Society of Association Executives, 2022
– Foundations of Real Estate (FoRE), Urban Land Institute, 2021
– Certified Digital Marketing Professional (IE-DMI55630), Digital Marketing Institute, 2019
– American Society of Association Executives, Member, 2019–Present
– American Jewish Committee, Member, 2020–Present
– Urban Land Institute, Member, 2020–Present
– Urban Land Institute, Chicago Product Council, Member, 2022
– 2015 Artist-in-Residence, Starry Night Retreat, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico