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Ron Emrich

1203 Pine Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
609. 802. 2813

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Results-driven professional with 28 years experience in non-profit, private and government sectors. Nationally recognized as a creative leader, developing and managing programs that serve diverse communities and meet the needs of clients and the public.

Proven ability to provide executive leadership

  • Effectively managed staffs of three to 30
  • Inspirational leader of Board recruitment: recasting dominant board member profile from industry consultant to major donor
  • Innovative creator of new or re-engineered programs and organizations and leader of strategic planning processes

Multi-faceted fundraiser, whose drive to develop expanded sources of funds is balanced with a commitment to organizational ideals

  • Compelling builder of relationships with existing and prospective donors and members
  • Author and manager of successful foundation, corporate and government grants that have grown organizations and programs
  • Director and administrator of numerous six figure capital campaigns for programs and buildings
  • Grateful recipient of donors’ gifts

Persuasive speaker and facilitator

  • Presenter and moderator for regional and national conferences and programs
  • Primary facilitator of national forums and conferences of local government and nonprofit leaders

Skilled organizational and legislative advocate

  • Powerful public spokesman for organizations with complex, controversial missions or public policy positions
  • Successful lobbyist for state economic development and environmental legislation, leading coalitions of organizations and constituencies

Convincing and creative communicator in traditional and new mediums

  • Managed extensive redesign of complex, database-driven website, resulting in significant increases in usership
  • Creator and primary contributor to organizational weblogs and social media sites experiencing 100 per cent annual growth in traffic
  • Often-published author of articles in professional journals, general publications
  • Personal/professional weblog author and storyteller

Professional Experience


Statewide non-profit historic preservation advocacy and education organization with 1,000+ members, 20-member Board of Directors. 

Executive Director : 2003 to 2011           

Chief executive officer, directing staff of three in establishing and implementing programs and projects in education, advocacy and technical assistance.   Recruited to formulate and execute strategic plan to expand communications, programs, outreach and profile of nonprofit preservation organization.  Provide leadership and motivation to Board of Directors, and first staff to Executive Committee and Development, Finance, Strategic Planning and standing program committees.  Plan and direct development program: restricted and unrestricted individual giving; sponsorship; membership development.

  • Catalyst for growth and diversification of corporate and foundation giving to operating and program-related restricted funds.
  • Lead state and federal government relations and advocacy.
  • Developing funding for public outreach, professional development and education programs
  • Develop & expand online communications presence, technical assistance delivery and advocacy



Historic preservation and downtown development consulting services to private sector, government and nonprofit clients nationwide

Principal : 1985 - 2003

  • Planning services to public entities and private real estate firms, including Downtown revitalization plans and implementation strategies
  • Historic preservation projects, including restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive use planning, design, development and review.
  • Assistance to non-profit organizations and local government agencies in organization, management and resources development.
  • Community-based advocacy campaigns.
  • Preservation Commissions training; preparation of design guidelines
  • Preparation of preservation plans and ordinances; historic and cultural resources surveys, historic structures reports




Statewide non-profit historic preservation advocacy and education organization with 2,000 members, $600,000 annual operating budget,  $1.8 million in restricted funds and endowment
Executive Director : 1995 - 1997

Chief executive officer directing staff of eight in establishing and implementing programs and projects.   Provided leadership and motivation to 45-member board of directors and first staff to Executive Committee and Development, Finance, Board Development and Strategic Planning Committees. Led local, state and national advocacy efforts; continued expansion of statewide constituent base; influenced public policy through leadership, organization and coordination with fellow state and local advocate groups.  Led staff-directed programs in technical assistance, preservation easements, grants and revolving loans, education and conferences. Conceived, wrote and managed grants and contracts.

  • Catalyst for fundraising efforts: growth and diversification of corporate, foundation and individual giving to operating funds, managed $275,000 capital campaign associated with 1996 National Preservation Conference in Chicago. 
  • Conceived and directed re-engineering of organizational marketing plan and public relations; developed and coordinated communications programs and membership development
  • Responsible for in-house rehabilitation projects, including completion of renovation of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Waller Apartments.




Local non-profit historic preservation and downtown revitalization and management organization with 11-member board of directors, $700,000+ annual operating budget and $1.9 million in historic property assets

Downtown Manager, City Historic Preservation Officer, Executive Director:


  • As "loaned executive" from municipal agency, provided leadership, administration and management, supervised foundation staff of two and developed policies, implemented programs and projects.  
  • Managed Main Street revitalization project: preservation-based economic development; heritage tourism and housing rehabilitation grant programs
  • Served as professional staff and provided leadership and technical support to Historic Preservation Commission: architectural design review, assistance to owners of historic properties, sought and administered grants.  Led community outreach, marketing and public relations efforts; local, state and federal government relations and advocacy.
  • Wrote and provided advocacy leadership for City Council adoption of municipal historic preservation ordinance; wrote and implemented design guidelines; successfully completed and supervised implementation of three National Register districts. 
  • Leadership and motivation to Foundation Board of Directors.  First staff to Executive Committee and Development, Finance, Strategic Planning and standing project committees
  • Guided adaptive use planning, development, rehabilitation and management of three Foundation-owned historic properties
  • Planned and directed foundation development program: restricted and unrestricted corporate, foundation, individual giving; event sponsorship; membership development; developed $3.5 million Capital Campaign for theater rehabilitation; led successful $120,000 Capital Campaign for historic depot restoration



DALLAS LANDMARK COMMISSION - Planning and Development Dept,
Dallas, Texas

Chief Preservation Planner, Administrator: 1986 - 1991

Municipal historic preservation program, managing more than 60 individual landmarks and 11 historic districts with review and oversight by 14 member, City Council-appointed Commission.

Administration and management of Certified Local Government preservation program.  Supervised staff of three, overseeing design review and district and landmark designations.  Managed program budgeting; responsible for development and preliminary design of publications.  Principal in interagency economic development and urban design projects.



University Instruction


Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Community & Regional Planning - 2000 – 2001

Developed curriculum, presented materials for graduate level introduction to historic preservation planning course.

Early Career

Managing Director, Paramount Theatre, Historic Paramount Foundation/Historic Denver, Inc.,  Denver, Colorado.


Candidate - M.S. Historic Preservation
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation
Columbia University, New York, New York

B.A. Liberal Arts/American History
University of Colorado, Boulder and University of Lancaster, U.K.

Professional and Civic Affiliations

  • Member, Advocacy Committee, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia 2011 - present
  • National Alliance of Preservation Commissions; Washington, D.C.
    Chairman of the Board 1995 – 1997,  Board of Advisors  1998 – present
  • Preservation Action;  Washington, D.C., Board of Directors  1988 – present
  • Mayoral appointment: Commissioner, Dallas Landmark Commission 1999 – 2002
  • Preservation Texas; Austin, Texas, President, V.P. Public Policy, 2000-2002
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation – Forum
  • Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
  • Washington Square West Civic Association, Philadelphia

Representative  Publications,  Awards, Presentations

  • Presenter: Incentivizing investment in historic neighborhoods,
    DelawareValley Regional Planning Council, January 2011
  • Moderator and presenter:  Advocacy for financial incentives for preservation,
    NJ State Preservation Conference, Elizabeth, NJ, 2010
  • Planner & Moderator: various sessions on smart growth and historic preservation
    New Jersey Future Redevelopment Conferences, 2010, 2009, 2008
  • Conference Facilitator/Moderator:  National Alliance of Preservation Commissions bi-annual National Forum:  2008 New Orleans, 2006 Baltimore
  • Address: "Preserving Town Character," Association of New Jersey
    Environmental Commissions Congress, Designing for the Environment, October 2003
  • Legacies, A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas & address: Fall 2002 Dallas History Conference, “Wynnewood: A Tonic for the Shelter Hungry Nation”
  • “Citizens’ Advocacy Guide” publication and address:  Preservation Texas legislative advocacy workshop, Austin, Texas, 2001
  • Address: “Understanding and Using the Texas Economic Impact Study,” September 1999, Texas CLG Conference, San Angelo.
  • Address: “Improving Preservation’s Positive Public Image,” Illinois Historic Preservation Conference, 1996, Oak Park.
  • Address: “Rehabilitation Means Jobs and Growth,” Northeast Illinois AIA Conference, July 1996.
  • Legacies, A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, “Old Red – Celebrating the Centennial of a Dallas Landmark,” Fall 1992.\\
  • Address: “Urban Transportation and Preservation: Where Conflicting Issues Meet,” November 1990, Texas CLG Conference, Austin.
  • Recipient: 1989 Truett Latimer Award as outstanding Texas preservation public official, by Preservation Texas and Southwestern Bell Foundation.
  • Address: “Preservation in the Southwest,” 1989, Columbia University Preservation Symposium, New York.
  • Address: “Historic Districts: Protecting the Fragile Balance,” Urban Design/Aesthetics Conference, November 1986, Texas APA, Houston.
  • Address:  “Architectural Preservation in Spain and Texas,” February 1986, Meadows School for the Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas.
  • Dallas Times Herald, “Turn of the Century Trends, Old East Dallas Homes Reveal Diverse Styles,” April 25, 1985.Journal: Friends of Terra Cotta, “Saving the Movie Palaces,” Summer 1983, San Francisco.


Urban Prospects Blog

My blog about exploring city life, with an eye on the future.

Preservation NJ Blog

Preserve NJ
The Preservation New Jersey Blog


Perspective NJ
Nora Muchanic and I talk about managing change and keeping "Someplace" from becoming "Anyplace"


Petty's Run
A recent interview about an important landmark at risk.

Capital Projects

Grapevine Palace Theater

Grapevine Palace Theater

Grapevine Railroad Depot

Grapevine Railroad Depot

Wynnewood: A Tonic for the Shelter Hungry Nation


I loved telling the story of this great community.

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