Interim Exec Director Press Release

NACDC announces Interim Executive Director, effective January 1, 2022

AKRON, Ohio – The North Akron Community Development Corporation (NACDC) has named Justin Chenault its Interim Executive Director, effective January 1, 2022.  Mr. Chenault, who has served as NACDC’s Operating Director for the last two years, will assume the interim leadership role of NACDC as Katie Beck, current Executive Director, departs at the end of February to pursue her professional endeavors as a creative community builder and Co-Artistic Director with Gum-Dip Theatre.  

 

During the next two months, Ms. Beck and Mr. Chenault will work with the NACDC Board of Directors on the transition plan that has been established to ensure that NACDC’s mission to unite people, places, and programs in stimulating a creative economy in North Hill, while anchoring a flourishing intercultural community and celebrating its vibrant diversity remains intact.  The selection of Mr. Chenault as the interim Executive Director during this period of transition is expected to allow the NACDC to continue its mission seamlessly as it searches for a permanent Executive Director in the coming months.  According to Eileen Connor, NACDC Board Member, “We’re mindful of both the challenges and opportunities that a transition like this will provide.  Our intention is to continue to ensure stability and strategic direction, and as that direction evolves, we’ll begin the search for a new Executive Director.”  

 

Ms. Beck has been involved with the NACDC since 2019 and became Executive Director in January 2020. Even before becoming the NACDC’s Executive Director, she was instrumental in opening and operating the Exchange House in North Hill, a cultural hub and international hostel.  In addition, with the support of Mr. Chenault as Operating Director, together they have steered the organization through a stage of exponential growth during the pandemic. During Ms. Beck’s tenure as Executive Director, the organization’s operating budget grew by nearly 800% over two years and three public spaces opened including Maker House, the NoHi Pop-Up restaurant (winner of Greater Akron Chamber’s Grit Award 2020), and NoTique,  a pop-up retail storefront selling the unique creations of over 20 North Hill minority- and female-vendors, makers, and artists. In addition, two vacant lots were purchased for new development, and more than 75 partnerships with groups, organizations, and businesses both within and outside of North Akron have been established.

 

Despite the leadership transition, the Board of the NACDC and Mr. Chenault remain confident about the direction and future of NACDC.  “With the strong foundations and relationships created through Ms. Beck’s leadership, and Mr. Chenault’s operations expertise and experience since he joined the organization, we’re confident that the NACDC will remain the vital partner to the North Hill and North Akron community that it has been,” said Dr. Michael Gintert, Board Member.  

 

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About the NACDC

North Akron Community Development Corporation (NACDC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded in 2017. A volunteer board of directors governs the organization and provides strategic direction and oversight. The NACDC’s geography is predominantly the North Hill Neighborhood of Akron, a neighborhood that enjoys a reputation as one of Northeast Ohio’s - and the country’s - most culturally diverse communities.  The NACDC’s mission - as a collaborative partner and catalyst – is coalition building, economic development, direct community engagement and support, and creative placemaking,  to ensure a vibrant and thriving North Hill community that inspires, connects, propels, and celebrates its residents and its unique diversity for generations to come. 

 

Professional Profiles

Mr. Chenault: https://www.linkedin.com/in/justin-chenault/

Ms. Beck: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-beck-aa283839/