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History Colorado Names Steve Turner Sole Finalist for Executive Director Position
DENVER – History Colorado today announced its board of directors, after a thorough national search, unanimously selected interim leader Steve Turner as the sole finalist to become the organization’s next executive director. The board will take formal action on this at its June 15 meeting.
Turner has led the organization since August following the retirement of Ed Nichols.
“While we were impressed with the quality of the more than 100 applicants we received, we agreed unanimously Steve is far and away the most qualified for the role,” said Ann Alexander Pritzlaff, chair of the board of directors. “He has lived and breathed our mission for the past eight years, gaining respect from his colleagues and partners along the way. He continues to demonstrate his skill at managing large government agencies and executing a strategic vision in a way that brings people and partners together.”
Turner has worked with History Colorado since 2008. During that time he led the State Historical Fund and the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. He helped administer more than $91 million in preservation grants over his tenure. He also helped lead the effort to expand the state’s preservation tax credit, which has been instrumental in preserving historic assets across the state.
“Steve is a champion of preserving Colorado’s history and a highly effective executive uniquely suited to lead History Colorado,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Under his direction, the organization has strengthened finances and relationships with key partners while staying true to its mission. We look forward to supporting him as he takes History Colorado to the next level."
Turner has worked closely with the board of directors, appointed by Hickenlooper, to implement the board’s plan to ensure History Colorado’s long-term financial stability and continued execution of the organization’s mission. They also worked with division heads to restructure staffing following a staff reduction.
“We went from a projected $2 million deficit for fiscal year 2016 to a balanced budget for 2017 with a plan to build on our cash reserves – that in and of itself is a great achievement,” said Pritzlaff. “To do it in a way that maintains all of our core functions and services while enhancing our mission and connection to our eight Community Museums – that is nothing short of remarkable.”
Ongoing strategic efforts include the development of a new five-year exhibit plan for the History Colorado Center with a strong focus on Colorado history. This plan will utilize the organization’s vast collection of 15 million items from Colorado’s history to broaden the audience appeal of the History Colorado Center. Another area of focus is strengthening connections to communities across Colorado by working with History Colorado’s local Community Museums.
"Steve is a preservationist at heart who really understands that the state of Colorado is wide and diverse in history and people. He is a champion for a statewide strategic vision for our organization through collaborative decision making and a focus on sound financial management," said Dawn DiPrince, director of History Colorado's Community Museums. “He brings a remarkable blend of skills to History Colorado. I’m excited for our future.”
Other strategic initiatives underway include building strong relationships between the organization and the newly appointed board, selected by Gov. Hickenlooper, as well as other political leadership and strategic partners; supporting fundraising and development of the expansion of History Colorado’s Ute Indian Museum in Montrose; overseeing the implementation of a 10-year state historic preservation plan; and continuing to serve the state with some of the strongest preservation programs in the country.
“Steve is recognized nationally as an effective and passionate advocate for preserving Colorado’s history,” said Barb Pahl, senior vice president for preservation field services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Colorado is fortunate to have its historic preservation efforts spearheaded by such a capable leader.”
History Colorado's mission is to inspire generations to find wonder and meaning in our past and to engage in creating a better Colorado. We serve as the state's memory, preserving the places, stories, and material culture of Colorado through our museums, educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. Find History Colorado on all major social media platforms. Visit HistoryColorado.org or call (303) HISTORY for more information.
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