Executive director departs Grandfather Mountain

Article Published: Apr. 18 | Modified: Apr. 18
Executive director departs Grandfather Mountain

Penn Dameron
Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

After five years as president and executive director, Penn Dameron will depart the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation effective April 18.

Dameron joined the Mountain in 2009 as it was transitioning from a privately owned property to a nonprofit organization. He previously served as executive director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and spent a combined 30 years as a trial lawyer and Superior Court judge.

As a college student in the 1970s, Dameron had a summer job at Grandfather Mountain, selling tickets, pumping gas at the entrance gate and helping with the "Mildred the Bear Shows" held twice daily in the 1960s and '70s.

Dameron informed the Grandfather Mountain staff earlier this month that he would be stepping down as president and executive director.

"I knew that my primary responsibility was not only to oversee the conversion of Grandfather Mountain from a for-profit to a not-for-profit corporation, but to set it on the right path so that it could achieve greater successes in the future for generations to come," Dameron said. "I think I have done that, and now is the time for me to hand my responsibilities off to a new era of leadership to keep it on that path."

Vice President Harris Prevost said Dameron's expertise has been critical during the past five years at Grandfather Mountain.

"Penn will be missed," Prevost said. "He is a class act. With his legal background, he was just the one to navigate us through the treacherous legal waters of transitioning from a for-profit to a nonprofit organization. He has represented us to public audiences with class and dignity through his understanding of Grandfather Mountain and his warm sense of humor."

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation board of directors has selected chairman Jim Morton to serve as president, while maintaining his chairman role.

The board also decided not to name a new executive director at this time. Board members are in the process of determining where they want the Stewardship Foundation to go in the next decade and what sort of leader will be needed to take it there.

Dameron said he was proud of the steps Grandfather Mountain has taken during his five years at the helm.

"Its new leaders will be inheriting a corporation that is in solid financial shape and poised to make great strides over the coming years," Dameron said. "It has been a great privilege to work with my fantasticfellow employees at the mountain."

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research activities. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or plan a trip at http://www.grandfather.com.


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