President, Preservation Trust of Vermont

Eos Transition Partners
May 22, 2020
Burlington, Vermont
Job Type
Contact Name (not public)
Eos Transition Partners


Preservation Trust of Vermont Seeks President

Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV) is a statewide non-profit organization founded in 1980 with the mission to help communities save and use historic places and revitalize downtowns and village centers. For more than forty years, PTV has been working in each corner of Vermont and every town in between, helping to build capacity at the local level so that communities have the tools and expertise they need to keep gathering places alive and thriving while retaining the integrity of our rural downtowns, villages, and the surrounding rural landscape.

About PTV

What does PTV do? We visit; we chat; we crawl around in attics and basements; we meet with our communities; we get individual and groups started on the right path; we teach; we review plans; we connect people with the right people; we help others move towards success. With these guiding principles in mind, PTV accomplished the following in 2019:

  • Supported 280 local preservation projects in 153 communities through its Field Service Program.
  • Provided 62 project development and technical assistance grants through the Robert Sincerbeaux Fund.
  • Provided technical assistance and condition assessments to 18 barn owners of historic barns through its Barn Assessment Grant Program.
  • Provided a total of $250,000 in funding for five major Preservation Grants with the Freeman Foundation.
  • Worked with two communities to oppose Sprawl and encourage the proper scale and location of Big Box development in its downtowns.
  • Encouraged and helped develop ten Community Supported Enterprises such as village stores, cooperatives, restaurants, and community-centered businesses.
  • Stewarded 74 historically significant properties through its Historic Preservation Easement Program.
  • Hosted (at the Grand Isle Lake House) two-day Preservation Retreats from May through October, collectively attended by 138 individuals from 42 community groups.
  • Owned and stewarded three historic properties: Grand Isle Lake House, Pierce’s Store, and Vermont Marble Museum.
  • With support from the Vermont Community Foundation, oversaw the installation of Whale Dance, a new iconic sculpture by Jim Sardonis, which is the culmination of a fundraising effort which conserved the land and supports new community and agricultural investment at Exit 4 in Randolph.
  • Secured nearly $2 million in new funding through the National Park Service Historic Restoration Subgrant Program and from the Northern Borders Regional Commission to provide funding to communities for village revitalization and economic development.
  • Made its first Local Investment Impact investment in the Putnam Block in Downton Bennington.

Although its primary office is in Burlington, PTV’s eight full- and part-time staff members work remotely from offices located throughout the state. With an operating budget of approximately $1.8 million, PTV is overseen by a 15-member Board of Directors comprised of community and business leaders deeply committed to PTV’s mission. A nine-member Board of Directors of Preservation Realty Holdings owns and stewards the Grand Isle Lake House. PTV is currently headed by Interim President, Liz Gamache, who has successfully led the initial leadership transition from Paul Bruhn, PTV’s charismatic, influential, and beloved founding President who was PTV’s sole leader until his unfortunate passing in the Fall of 2019.

Opportunity Going Forward

The President will have the opportunity to lead a well-established, highly respected, and nationally prominent state-wide preservation nonprofit committed to helping Vermont communities save and use historic places while promoting community building, economic development, and the revitalization of downtowns and village centers, ultimately with the goal of preserving the essential character of Vermont. Utilizing PTV’s creative and flexible approach to preservation, high priorities for the President include:

  • Managing effectively and efficiently the ongoing operations of a mission-driven, nonprofit with a $1.8 annual operating budget.
  • Directing and empowering a team of highly skilled, experienced, and field-based preservation professionals, while also creating and implementing essential systems and processes to streamline their work and improve institution-wide efficiency.
  • Building on the successful efforts to date by PTV’s Interim President, continuing to transition long-held relationships from PTV’s founding President and building new relationships with state-wide and local community leaders as well as funders to ensure PTV remains the foremost preservation organization in Vermont.
  • Networking throughout Vermont to forge trusted partnerships and discovering and encouraging preservation and community revitalization projects for which PTV can provide support and guidance.
  • Presenting to all constituencies as the articulate and passionate public spokesperson for PTV to raise awareness of and support for preservation as well as community revitalization and economic development.
  • Sustaining PTV’s robust fundraising program, while transitioning the program from one solely led by the former President to one that leverages the network, input, and participation of board members, other staff, and supporters.
  • Improving and utilizing technology and digital media to create greater awareness of PTV.
  • Determining how PTV should respond to the COVID pandemic and its impact on PTV’s programs and earned income.
  • Working collaboratively with the Board of Directors to determine and implement a strategy to stabilize PTV’s ownership of the Marble Museum.
  • Expanding the diversity of the Board of Directors.

Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate

  • A minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge of, passion for and commitment to historic preservation, the built environment, community building and economic development
  • Commitment to or experience in states like Vermont and/or rural communities

Skills and Experience

Politically Astute Community Builder and Supporter

  • Proven, consummate, and highly accessible networking skills
  • Deep commitment to engaging and empowering communities, with the ability to build consensus and get others to “yes”
  • Able to create and hold mutually beneficial community connections, collaborations, and partnerships
  • Belief in and skill at grassroots organizing
  • Political skills at the local, state, and federal levels, with an understanding of Vermont’s uniqueness, particularly its rural communities
  • Understanding how government and lobbying works with state house exposure a plus

Creative and Entrepreneurial Leader

  • Skilled at developing creative and entrepreneurial solutions to complex problems
  • Able to consider and assume risk
  • Possess the self-confidence needed to share project ownership and successes
  • Proven leadership at an organization of PTV’s scale and size
  • Financial and budget acumen

Passionate Spokesperson with Commitment to Preservation

  • Passion for the built environment and preservation, with the ability to inspire others about PTV’s mission
  • Commitment to being visible in and available to the community
  • Possess emotional intelligence combined with warmth, humility, charm, and diplomacy
  • Well-developed verbal and written communication skills to represent PTV throughout the state and nationally as its primary spokesperson
  • Comfort communicating equally well with all constituencies

Empowering Leader to Staff and Board

  • A present and accessible leader of staff
  • Adept at developing a positive, warm, welcoming, and collaborative work culture and climate
  • Able to create and implement appropriate systems and processes that maximize staff expertise and contributions
  • Skilled at professionalizing management practices and oversight while not micromanaging
  • A partner to the Board of Directors to expand its impact on the organization

Creative and Vigorous Fundraiser

  • See fundraising and the growth of PTV’s donor base as an important job responsibility
  • Be a confident, thoughtful, and effective communicator able to transition relationships from PTV’s long-serving founding leader
  • Able to cultivate and steward major donor relationship, create mutually beneficial partnerships with institutional funders to support PTV’s grant making programs
  • Leverage the expertise, networks, and experience of the Board of Directors and its Development Committee in fundraising

How To Apply

Candidates must include a resume and a cover letter that describes how their qualifications and experience match the needs and mission of PTV, along with salary requirements. Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. Upload required documents at:

Salary is commensurate with experience and within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget. PTV is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer which encourages applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and cultures, particularly candidates of color and/or candidates who know and/or represent the communities PTV serves.

This executive search is being conducted by Eos Transition Partners consultant John Tarvin. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential, and any questions must be submitted to John at:

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