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Heritage Area Names New Executive Director

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area board of directors announced that Angie Chandler will serve as the organization’s new Executive Director, effective October 26, 2009. Chandler currently serves as Director of External Affairs with The North Carolina Arboretum.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Angie’s experience and capabilities serve the region by providing leadership for heritage preservation and promotion,” Board Chair John Cooper said. “Angie will work diligently across our 25-county region to forge new partnerships to protect and celebrate our mountain heritage.”

Chandler will oversee all activities of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, including implementation of a ten-year management plan, grant-making, marketing, research, interpretation, and fundraising. She will work closely with officials at the federal, state, and local levels, in addition to nonprofits, businesses, and foundations. The organization receives an annual appropriation of federal funds through the National Park Service which it matches with state, local, and private dollars.

Chandler brings nearly 15 years of leadership in Western North Carolina in community and government relations, marketing, and program development. She is currently with The North Carolina Arboretum, where she has worked for 10 years, first as Director of Public Programs and, more recently, as Director of External Affairs. Prior to that, she worked for four years as Vice President of Communications and Governmental Affairs with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. From 2006-2009, she served as President of the Blue Ridge Parkway Association and organized Parkway partners to create Blue Ridge Parkway 75, Inc., a non-profit organization that is now implementing the 2010 Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary plan.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve Western North Carolina in this capacity, and I look forward to working with our communities and beyond to strengthen and support the natural and cultural resources of this distinctive region in which we live,” stated Chandler.

A native of Opelika, Alabama, Chandler has family roots in Western North Carolina spanning seven generations. Chandler will be based in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area offices at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville.

The organization’s previous Executive Director, Penn Dameron, stepped down at the end of July, 2009 to take another job.