Who'll lift the United Pawtucket

Posted in: NAP- Neighborhood Alliance of Pawtucket

PAWTUCKET ?— The phrase ?“big shoes to fill?” has been used repeatedly since the recent annoucement that Pawtucket Foundation Executive Director Richard Davis is stepping down to accept a new post in Indiana.

Davis, hired in 2001 to be the Foundation?’s first executive director, is leaving in April to become president of the Downtown Improvement District of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Foundation also joined the City of Pawtucket and the state attorney general?’s office in legal action opposing the construction of a 2,000 tone-per-day trash transfer plant in a downtown railyard, a case still pending before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
In recent remarks at the organization?’s annual meeting, Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle called the Foundation ?“the architect of a movement to pull Pawtucket forward.?”
He also praised the organization for its ?“determination to list the city to its fullest potential.?”
Pawtucket attorney John J. Partridge, also a co-chairman of the Foundation, said, ?“In addition to laying the groundwork for some major developments like the commuter rail station, Rich Davis brought our organization to maturity on a sound footing.?”
Partridge noted that Davis and his wife, Mindy, have ?“become part of the community?” and said Davis?’ departure is ?“a personal and professional loss.?” He said that, speaking on behalf of Co-chairman Dan Sullivan and the Foundation?’s board of directors, ?“we will miss him and wish him well in his new venture.?”
Partridge added, ?“We look forward to finding a successor to fill his big shoes and keep the momentum going.?”
Davis, 59, said that when he was tapped for the Foundation job back in 2001, he had been working in Manchester, New Hampshire, running a downtown business improvement district similar to the one he will be in charge of in Fort Wayne.
He said that while he has enjoyed his time at the Foundation, he was looking ahead to the next stage of his career, while also longing to one day return to the Midwest where he is originally from. He ackowledged that while there has been some frustration surrounding the former train station and the long process in restoring of commuter rail service to the Pawtucket area, he nevertheless feels that the Foundation and the city has made progress.
?“Especially over these last few weeks, I?’ve really begun to think Pawtucket has put a lot of things in place that position it well to be a competitor in today?’s marketplace,?” said Davis. He said that he continues to believe in the importance of the Foundation, especially its intent to bring people together, such as the city leaders in neighboring communities to look at various issues they all face.
?“I think the Foundation has been able to push the agenda forward,?” said Davis. ?“Even if some of the work is done quietly, from behind the scenes,?” he said.
Richard Blockson, general manager of the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket Call newspapers and a Foundation board member, credits Davis for developing ?“a united front?” among local businesses and for doing the ?“heavy lifting?” on community work and service projects that most private business owners don?’t have the time to provide.
?“He picked up all the pieces and took input from diverse businesses to get us in a cohesive position that will help the city to take some giant steps forward,?” said Blockson. ?“His time, energy and dedication has been well-received by every business owner,?” he added.

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Lifting Opportunities Galore

With the economy and the movement on some fronts in Pawtucket, this would be an ideal time to capture many applicants and hopefully Rich could share his learning curve with the selected person, before he left for Ft Wayne. Kudos and good luck to Rich Davis.
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