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Whalen to head Falls tourism institute

The Niagara Global Tourism Institute in Niagara Falls has named Patrick J. Whalen as its interim director.

The appointment of Whalen, who until last month was the chief operating officer of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, is effective immediately.

The institute is an effort led by Niagara University that builds on research and development to try to grow the tourism industry in the Cataract City.

Whalen replaces Eddie Friel, the founding director, who retired in September to move back to Scotland, where he worked for many years.

Whalen served for seven years as chief operating officer of the Medical Campus, where he was credited with encouraging business activity on the campus and in developing the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center.

Whalen also is a veteran entrepreneur who started more than 20 companies, including Fulfillment Systems International, a customs broker that he later sold to UPS.