We wanted you to know about an exciting change in the leadership structure at Friends of the High Line.
Twelve years ago, Joshua David and Robert Hammond founded Friends of the High Line with the goal of saving the High Line from demolition. After years of planning, design, and construction, the High Line south of West 30th Street is now open to the public. As the non-profit conservancy for the High Line, we now have new responsibilities and an expanded staff dedicated to maintaining and operating the park for the more than two million visitors it welcomes each year. A new leadership role is required to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization while Joshua and Robert dedicate their focus to our advocacy, planning, fundraising, and other strategic initiatives, including the High Line at the West Side Rail Yards and our High Line Food program.
To this end, Melissa Fisher, our current Director of Horticulture & Park Operations, will be taking on the expanded role of Chief Operating Officer, effective October 15. In this position, Melissa will report to Robert, with all other staff at Friends of the High Line reporting to her. Her primary focus will be optimizing our delivery of multiple projects and initiatives, while ensuring the ongoing collaboration of our staff.
Back in 2009, as we prepared to open the first section of the park, Friends of the High Line took responsibility for maintaining and operating the High Line, but the entire Horticulture, Maintenance, and Park Operations staff at the organization did not yet exist. Almost overnight we doubled our staff, procured our park operations equipment, opened a field office, and greatly expanded our responsibilities to care for this extraordinary public space. To hire and build this team, Melissa worked with former Vice President of Horticulture & Park Operations Patrick Cullina, who left the organization earlier this year. During her time at Friends of the High Line, she has demonstrated exemplary leadership and management skills. There could be no better person to take on this new role than Melissa.
We are now beginning the search for a Vice President of Park Operations to replace the role Melissa currently fills.
In other exciting news, Rick Little will be promoted to Vice President of Administration & Strategic Projects. Tara Morris will be promoted from her current position as Director of Development to Vice President of Development. In these new positions, Rick and Tara will continue to play integral roles in the leadership of Friends of the High Line. Peter Mullan will remain in his leadership position as Vice President for Planning & Design.