After 9 years at the helm of Providence Preservation Society, Brent Runyon has decided to step aside and make way for a new Executive Director in 2023. We cannot thank Brent enough for his steadfast leadership and passion for preservation in Providence. In this time, Brent has helped us become a stronger preservation advocate and community steward. We look forward to ushering in this exciting new chapter and wish Brent the best in his next endeavor.
The Search Committee has launched a search for the next Executive Director in the coming weeks. We look forward to attracting a thoughtful and growth-minded leader that excels in nurturing trust and collaboration across communities to ensure our continued organizational success.
Please join us in supporting this leadership transition! Share your thoughts on the skills, qualities, and experience you’d like to see in the next Executive Director. Chime in here.
If you are interested in the position or can spread the word to someone who may be qualified, see the full job description. If you have other questions, reach out to us at EDSearch@ppsri.org.
A Letter from Brent Runyon, Executive Director
When I moved to Rhode Island in 2013, I was excited and motivated. Not just for a new career opportunity as the Executive Director of Providence Preservation Society, but because of the community I had already begun to meet and the vibrancy of this city’s preservation efforts. Providence is an amazing place. Today, 9+ years later, I can say the relationships I’ve built through PPS and the work we’ve done together are among the greatest highlights of my career.
It is with this spirit of appreciation and inspiration that I am announcing I have decided to step aside from my position later this year.
We’ve done so much together in this near decade. Significant community impact is never easy – but with your engagement as a thoughtful preservation community, we’ve been steadfast. We’ve strengthened PPS and elevated how we deliver on our mission. I’m proud of our work together and I’m happy to have led the organization towards these accomplishments. In this time, we’ve:
- Created a more financially stable organization while doubling the budget and adding staff.
- Raised $1.8 Million for our capital campaign, including $450,000 to our endowment.
- Updated our 1769 Old Brick School House, a building PPS has occupied since 1960 and acquired in 2012. By May 2023, it will be fully code compliant, accessible and suitable for a 21st century organization.
- Created Building Works, a needed workforce initiative which aims to upskill people already in the building trades and create a network of rehabbers. Over 75% of Providence’s building stock is over 50 years old. This critical and relevant program paves the way for strengthening the trades workforce while protecting Providence’s history.
- Established a stronger advocacy engine, making huge impacts on projects like:
- The Industrial Trust Building (aka Superman Building) where we kept the building front and center in the political and public realm through advocacy, education and data. PPS’ role got the project listed in the 11 Most Endangered Sites in America, and helped keep the pressure on until a solution was found.
- Cranston Street Armory where we sat at the table with the State, City and neighbors to develop a community-engaged process for the future of this significant neighborhood institution.
- A new local historic district on Cooke Street for which PPS organized and advocated for nearly a decade, so that the city would gain more preservation oversight on more than 80 historic properties on the East Side.
- Five historically important buildings on Brown’s campus that were threatened by construction of a new performing arts center, and preserved through PPS’ efforts.
- Developed and launched a new comprehensive and important Strategic Plan that embraces our organizational roots while directing PPS’ work towards the next evolution and chapter in our decades long history.
- And finally, kept the even keel while we navigated COVID and ensured PPS would come through that period stronger than ever.
The key to this success has been in PPS’ ability to nurture strong relationships and trust with our longtime collaborators as well as new and growing constituencies. I can say with confidence that we have done important work in this regard. And because of this, we are at the right time for a transition. I’m excited to see how PPS grows and expands under new leadership.
I will be working with the PPS transition team to support PPS’ next chapter and will continue to champion PPS’ work as a resident of this great City alongside many of you. For now, I simply want to thank you for generously welcoming me to this community and working with me throughout these years to make real change and important preservation impact a reality. It’s been a true pleasure.
A Letter from Warren Jagger, Board President
On behalf of the entire board at Providence Preservation Society, I want to thank Brent for his steadfast leadership and passion for preservation in Providence. While we are sorry to see Brent leave, we are very proud of the work we’ve done together these past 9 years.
Brent came on board at a time when PPS was looking to find greater financial stability, and to deepen our focus in advocacy as well as our constituent relations. He not only led us through this by building trust with our many constituents, he paved the way for where we are today – financially stronger with major advocacy successes and a wider impact.
No organization exists for 67 years without change and evolution. While changes are afoot, this is an exciting time at PPS. Our new strategic plan outlines a positive, forward-looking direction for the next five years and beyond. The plan has been highly regarded by our peers throughout the U.S., pushing PPS into the realm of a national thought leader in preservation. The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to advance this plan by expanding our partnerships and collaborations across the community.
PPS has been fortunate to have had amazing leaders and we look forward to attracting our next Executive Director in 2023. Our organization is in a strong position to continue protecting Providence’s historic assets.
To aid in this, a Search Committee has formed, chaired by past board president Lucie Searle and current board member Katherine Pomplun, and supported by the full board, staff and advisors. The official search will begin in the coming weeks and will continue until the ideal candidate is found. In the meantime, Brent, the talented staff and committed board at PPS will continue to steward the preservation work of the organization and grow our programs and initiatives to meet the ever changing needs of Providence.
If you or someone you know is interested in this exciting opportunity or would like to know more, please reach out to us at EDsearch@ppsri.org.