Historic Wilmington Foundation executive director retiring

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The executive director of the Historic Wilmington Foundation for more than 10 years has decided to step down.

George Edwards has been with HWF since 2004 and plans to retire in December.

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President of the Board of Trustees Walker Abney and fellow board members all expressed praise for Edwards for his work and dedication the Foundation, and the historic preservation movement in Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region.

Abney said Edwards has been the face of the Foundation and preservation in the community for years and he will be missed.  Edwards, who celebrates thirteen years as director in November, is the longest serving executive in the organization’s 51 history. Historic Wilmington Foundation has been the voice and advocate for historic preservation in Wilmington and the region since 1966. In fact, during Edwards’ tenure the mission was redefined and the service area broadened to include Brunswick and Pender Counties.

The Foundation instituted the first revolving fund to save historic properties in North Carolina and has utilized the fund and preservation easements to save one hundred and one properties since 1967.  The Foundation has also been an aggressive advocate for good preservation practices for local government and property owners, and has offered an extensive array of educational programs.

Abney stated that “the Foundation is in its strongest financial position in many years and the organization has built an impressive array of programs to educate the public about the advantages of preservation.”   New initiatives begun by Edwards include the partnership with the New Hanover County Schools to implement the award winning Tar Heels Go Walking guide program, the annual Most Threatened Historic Places announcement and the effective traveling exhibit, used to educate the region’s citizens about the value of our historic built environment. The Foundation also has reopened its architectural salvage operation after a ten-year hiatus and it has achieved incredible results in just two short years.

Edwards moved to Wilmington from Richmond, Virginia, and is now in his thirty second year in the preservation field. He has worked for local and statewide non-profit preservation organizations, as well as seven years in the Main Street downtown redevelopment field.  He completed his master’s degree in heritage preservation at Georgia State University in 1986. Before moving into historic preservation he had worked in higher education for almost eleven years and was in college textbook sales and publishing for two years.

Abney stated that “the board will move to form a search committee to fill the director’s position.  George has strengthened the organization and is leaving us in a very good position to attract a highly qualified candidate who can build on our accomplishments and move us to new heights.  The board is grateful to George for his years of service.”