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Downtown Tucson Partnership Names Kathleen Eriksen as New CEO

by James Jefferies

The Downtown Tucson Partnership is pleased to announce that Kathleen Eriksen has been named its Chief Executive Officer. She will take over for Michael Keith, who is retiring after a successful six-year tenure as CEO. Eriksen was selected as a result of a thorough global search, led by board member Fletcher McCusker, that saw more than 100 submissions from national and international candidates and incredible enthusiasm for Downtown Tucson.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity and look forward to continuing the momentum and tremendous success already achieved by the City of Tucson and the Downtown Tucson Partnership”, said Eriksen. “Tucson has all the benefits of a large metropolitan city, yet emits a welcoming and inclusive vibe. Despite its size, Tucson retains a unique charm filled with history, culture, arts, entertainment, food, health, and spirituality. Tucson is on the precipice of becoming a world-class city. Words cannot adequately express how excited I am to lead this effort.”

Kathleen starts as CEO effective October 1, 2016 and will be relocating from Michigan. She has been focused on the revitalization of downtowns and historic neighborhoods throughout her career. Kathleen was the owner and founder of the Eriksen Development Company, a downtown development and consulting firm, for the past three years. She also has over 14 years’ experience serving as the Executive Director for downtown communities in Michigan and California.

"We are thrilled that Kathleen will be the CEO for the Downtown Tucson Partnership,” said Randi Dorman, Board Chairwoman of the Downtown Tucson Partnership.  “Her unique combination of relevant experience and endless enthusiasm for Downtown Tucson makes her the right person to take our downtown from 'momentum to maturity.'  In addition, the overwhelming response to our search confirmed that Downtown Tucson is recognized nationally and internationally as an incredible place to be.  I am looking forward to partnering with Kathleen to make Downtown THE best place to live, work and play in Tucson and beyond."

Prior to her career as Downtown Development Director, Eriksen co-owned and operated Otello's Ristorante, an Italian Restaurant; Renee de Paris, a French bakery and cafe, Theatre Coffee, a coffee house featuring local art and entertainment; and Grand Catering. She and her brother successfully operated these businesses for eight years in the heart of downtown Jackson, MI. The businesses were located in two very cool historic buildings which were cited for demolition. They were able to save the buildings and renovate them into four retail storefronts with two residential units up above, where they resided.
Her love for development, building restoration and providing service to others goes back to those early restaurant days. She loves restoring old buildings, revitalizing neighborhoods, and helping others achieve their goals. Her enthusiasm for doing what she loves shows through on every project she works on.

Kathleen Eriksen will become the Partnership’s fifth Chief Executive Officer following Michael Keith’s six-year tenure at the helm of the 18-year-old organization.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership is committed to making Downtown Tucson the most dynamic urban center in the Southwest.  The Partnership is a non-profit, 501 (c)(6) corporation, charged with acting as a catalyst for the re-development of Downtown. The organization was created in 1998 to implement the services for the Downtown Business Improvement District. These services include enhanced security, maintenance, marketing, festivals and events and economic development.