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Changes on the CWB Leadership Team

April 30, 2014

CWB’s longtime Deputy Director Eldon Tam has learned a lot about what it takes to build a new building as he has worked with The Center for Wooden Boats Board, the architects, designers, city permit departments and construction teams who are putting the final plans in place to build CWB’s new Wagner Education Center. He learned so much about construction management that he has been hired away from us; nabbed by The Burke Museum to lead the process to build them a new facility at the University of Washington.

Of course, we are disappointed to lose Eldon, but we couldn’t be happier for him personally. It is is a tremendous opportunity for him, and we understand he could not say no. We also know that CWB is still in Eldon’s bones, and he’ll be staying on as an advisor/volunteer to make sure the Ed Center is done right. His son Oliver still needs sailing lessons. And yes, Eldon will still make Baked Alaska for dessert at the CWB auction next spring.

Eldon and Suzanne

Eldon’s departure does leave big shoes to fill at CWB. It comes at a time when growth in programs and infrastructure present new challenges for management. The board has been evaluating the long-term leadership structure and talent needed to meet these challenges. The board has decided to take a deliberate approach before moving forward with a replacement. For this reason, one of the board members has agreed to vacate her position and become Interim Chief Operating Officer. Suzanne Zonneveld has a history in business management, both in non-profit, education and commercial organizations. She has been helping Executive Director Betsy Davis with grant writing, and has served as CWB’s Board Treasurer, Chair of the Governance and Finance Committees, and has been a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. Suzanne will step into this role on May 6, ensuring CWB operations keep running without a hitch.

That should give us all a smooth summer of sailing. It’ll give the board time to make thoughtful decisions and conduct a thorough search for new leadership talent.

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