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
+ more


– 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
+ more


– University of Chicago, Certificate in Editing
– Northeastern Illinois University, MA, Communications and Media
– North Park University, BA, English; BA, Philosophy


– Foundations of Real Estate (FoRE), Urban Land Institute, 2021
– Certified Digital Marketing Professional (IE-DMI55630), Digital Marketing Institute, 2019

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Photo of Benjamin van Loon at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico


My name is Ben van Loon and I’m a Chicagoan, a writer, a city lover, a cyclist, a futurist, a part-time professor, and a full-time global communications and strategy guy.

I started my career working in bike shops in Chicago, and over the past 15 years have worked across nonprofits, publishing, marketing, public relations, economic development, design and architecture, and association management. I specialize in entrepreneurship, creative strategy, and big ideas.

Currently I serve as senior communications director for AFIRE, an international real estate investment association, where I’m in charge of member communications, external affairs, and thought leadership, including serving as editor-in-chief of the award-winning Summit Journal.

Previously, I managed communications for SOM, a global architecture and urban design firm. Before that, I managed PR and marketing for World Business Chicago, an economic development organization partnered with the City of Chicago.

I also serve as an adjunct professor of public relations at Northeastern Illinois University, where I hold a master’s degree in communications and media.

As a writer, my work has been featured across a huge range of literary, professional, and business media. As a PR and strategic communications consultant, I have helped clients and employers gain placements in the New York Times, Forbes, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Financial Times, and dozens of other leading publications and networks. I’ve also presented creative and academic lectures across the US , and from 2011 to 2014, I also served as the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Anobium, an independent literary publisher and experimental writing collective.

When I’m not at work or teaching, I spend my time offering pro bono consulting to nonprofits with the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and the Taproot Foundation. And when I’m not doing any of that, I’m exploring, traveling, reading books, watching movies, and taking pictures of everyday life around Chicago.