Matheny introduced to lead Downtown Greensboro Inc.
DGI board chair Gary Brame introduced Zack Matheny as the booster organization’s next president and CEO during a press conference Thursday at the Greensboro Historical Museum.
Matheny, who resigned from his seat on the Greensboro City Council on Tuesday, joked that his was the shortest retirement in history before promising to get down to the serious business of restoring Downtown Greensboro Inc.’s reputation and viability.
Brame introduced Matheny to a sizable crowd of city officials and business leaders including the mayor and most council members, businessman Roy Carroll, entrepreneur Andy Zimmerman, realtor Sam Simpson, and others.
Brame said that a lot of DGI’s work goes on behind the scenes, and discussed a new beautification initiative that is currently underway. Brame said the group’s focus will remain on building partnerships with the city and being accountable to downtown Business Improvement District taxpayers.
DGI conducted a national search for its next president, Brame said, and received resumes from applicants in 11 cities. Matheny stood out due to his vision for downtown, Brame said.
Matheny took the podium to a standing ovation before thanking his wife and parents for their support.
“I’ve served this city every since I got here,” Matheny said. “Greensboro embraced me and made it my home.”
Matheny said he wanted to give downtown Greensboro “all I’ve got” and thanked the DGI board, promising to work together with the board to build the organization’s vision.
“I appreciate the board and their willingness to give me this opportunity,” he said.
Matheny said his first task would be to learn to report to a board, after having served a decade on city council, but promised results.
“I think things are going to change. You’re going to see what DGI does,” he said.
During his speech, Matheny mentioned ongoing projects, such as Union Square, the performing arts center, and construction projects completed or ongoing by Carroll and John Lomax.
“Three years from now “¦ it’s going to be difficult to recognize Greensboro, especially downtown Greensboro,” he said. Matheny promised to work hard and bring DGI back to its mission. He said his goal was for there “never to be a question about the viability of DGI.”
Reiterating the transition from elected official to the head of an organization that answers to a board, Matheny promised to listen, saying DGI planned a town hall meeting soon to gain feedback from stakeholders.
“We’re going to look at things through new eyes,” Matheny said. “I want everyone to feel the difference in the heartbeat of downtown.”
When asked if he envisioned a structural change to DGI’s organization, Matheny demured. Board chair Brame said DGI would put together a performance plan for the next 30 days.