Portland Downtown launches search for new executive director

Casey Gilbert. Photo by Smith Galtney.
Casey Gilbert. Photo by Smith Galtney.

PORTLAND, Maine – Portland Downtown is beginning its search for a new executive director to replace existing director, Casey Gilbert, whose contract ends June 30. Gilbert, who led the organization through its five-year strategic plan from 2015 to 2020, plans to build a consulting practice and explore teaching opportunities along with the completion of a PhD this spring.

“This is an exciting time for Portland Downtown,” said David Packard, incoming board chair and Counsel at PK Realty Management LLC. “Although the staff, board, and downtown community will miss Casey and her many remarkable talents as a leader in downtown management, we’re looking forward to finding another stellar executive director to guide us through our next strategic plan.”

During Gilbert’s tenure, Portland Downtown enjoyed many successes in its mission to create a cleaner, safer, more vibrant downtown. They include:

  • Increased advocacy work, at the city level, on issues such as parking & transportation, panhandling, and sound;
  • An expansion of Portland Downtown’s district boundaries in 2018, resulting in the provision of ‘clean & safe’ programs and services for an additional 218 downtown properties;
  • Partnership with Amistad, a peer support and recovery center, to develop the Peer Outreach Worker Program, ensuring that downtown’s most vulnerable populations get the help they need;
  • Raising the profile of Portland Downtown’s major community events including Downtown Worker Appreciation Day, the Monument Square Tree Lighting, Merry Madness, and Shop For A Cause Day;
  • Elevating the Portland Downtown name, brand, and organizational identity through enhanced marketing & communications initiatives;
  • Collaborating with the City of Portland and multimodal transportation agencies to launch the Drive Less Do More campaign.

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve Portland Downtown, its board, staff, and stakeholders for the past five years,” said Gilbert. “We have accomplished so much and I could not be more proud. I have no doubt that the new executive director will continue to build on the organization’s past 28 years of success.”

Beginning March 1, Portland Downtown’s board of directors is launching a nationwide search for a candidate who has development and/or business management experience especially in the field of downtown revitalization, urban placemaking, or nonprofit leadership.

Gilbert added, “I want to thank the Portland Downtown board of directors for the opportunities they’ve given me. I’ve grown personally and professionally and for that, I am forever grateful. I’ve also forged countless friendships and partnerships, which I hold in my heart as I embark on this next chapter.”

Portland Downtown, a 501c4 nonprofit organization, is in the business of maintaining a clean and safe downtown while building and promoting a vibrant business, residential, and tourism destination.