WILMINGTON, N.C. — Wilmington Downtown, Inc. (WDI) recently announced that Holly Childs has been appointed as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer. Her first official day with WDI will be January 4, 2021.

Childs has 15 years of public sector economic development leadership roles in cities such as Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and metro Phoenix, as well as nine years of experience in private commercial real estate development.  According to a press release, her capabilities include “extensive work in unifying diverse groups toward shared economic development goals, serving as a matchmaker between the private sector and public sector to develop meaningful community projects and partnerships, and a solid background in finance, construction, and green building/sustainability.”

The search process was led by Dane Scalise, Chair of WDI and General Counsel at GriffinEstep Benefit Group, and Colin Tarrant, Past-Chair of WDI and partner at Block Crouch Keeter Behm & Sayed, LLP. Dane has served as WDI’s acting President/CEO since July 2020. Members of the search committee included Rob Beale, W.M. Jordan Company; Tom Davis, Past Chair of WDI, City Block Apartment; Erris Dunston, City of Wilmington; Natalie English, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce; Jan Kennedy, New Hanover County Clerk of Court; Cathey Luna, Past Chair of WDI, Luna Ad; Billy Mellon, manna; Jim Morton, Cape Fear Community College; Jennifer Rigby, New Hanover County; and Kurt Taylor, NextGlass/Untappd.

“Wilmington Downtown, Inc. is an established, well-positioned organization that sits now at a crossroads – ready to push forward in the direction of leading the charge for economic development in Downtown.  I am thrilled to be working with a very talented and invested Board of Directors to help give WDI that push,” said Childs. “Throughout this process, I have learned so much about the people and passion that drive Wilmington, and I am looking forward to taking on my role in driving new jobs, investment, and excitement in our Downtown.”

“Bringing Holly on board was a ‘no brainer’ for our organization,” said Scalise. “WDI has been in the business of promoting the economic growth and development of Downtown Wilmington since 1977. Holly not only understands our mission, but, more importantly, she has the experience and knowledge to help us fully realize our potential as a major economic driver for our community. Stay tuned for a lot more exciting developments in Downtown.”

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