Commission Chair Ruth S. Taylor announced that the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) has appointed Acting Executive Director Jeffrey D. Emidy to serve as Executive Director. The selection follows a nearly year-long search that evaluated 28 candidates from Rhode Island and nationwide.
"Rhode Island's commitment to history, arts, and culture is vital to our identity as a state and also plays a significant role in the economy of all 39 of our cities and towns," said Governor Dan McKee. "Jeff Emidy has rich experience in historic preservation and has been a valuable resource to the RIHPHC for the past 17 years. I'm excited to see what he has in store for the future of the RIHPHC and the preservation of our past for the future of Rhode Island."
"We are very pleased and excited to recommend Jeff Emidy as the new Executive Director of the RIHPHC," added Taylor. "The Search Committee conducted a national search and met with a significant number of qualified applicants. Jeff won our recommendation by being the strongest candidate; he was able to articulate a vision for the RIHPHC office that looks to the future in productive ways – and this is important even for organizations which focus on the past. The fact that Jeff is already a known and respected figure within our State was an extra benefit."
The Commission has requested that Governor McKee also appoint Emidy as Rhode Island's next State Historic Preservation Officer, a federally mandated, unpaid position that is generally filled by the Executive Director.
Emidy has worked in historic preservation for more than 22 years. At the Commission, he advanced from National Register Assistant to Project Review Coordinator, to Deputy Director and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer before being named Executive Director. He has served as interim executive director on two occasions.
Emidy was born and raised in Rhode Island. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Vermont. Prior to joining the RIHPHC, Emidy worked at an environmental consulting firm and a cultural resources management company in Rhode Island. He has taught historic preservation, served on a local historic district commission, and has made presentations on historic preservation and local history at sites throughout Rhode Island.
"I am honored to have been selected to be the next Executive Director of the RIHPHC," said Emidy. "I look forward to working with the talented staff of the office to address topics and issues identified in the agency's most recent statewide historic preservation plan, including recognizing the contributions of underrepresented communities, adaptation to climate change, expanding the connections between our preservation and heritage programs, and assisting the public and state agencies to preserve our state's historic resources."
The Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission is the state agency for historic preservation and heritage programs. The Commission identifies and protects historic and prehistoric sites, buildings, and districts, administers grants, loans, and tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings, reviews federal and state projects that affect cultural resources, and regulates archaeological exploration. The Commission also develops and carries out programs to recognize the ethnic and cultural heritage of Rhode Island's people.