MONTPELIER — Montpelier Alive has a new executive director.
By Thatcher Moats
VERMONT PRESS BUREAU – Published: February 14, 2011
The nonprofit group that works to enhance the Capital City’s downtown has hired Phayvanh Luekhamhan to take the reins of the organization.
Shawn Bryan, the president of the Montpelier Alive board of directors, said Luekhamhan’s hiring was a unanimous decision made by a committee of local business owners and board members.
“It was unanimous, and we’re really excited,” said Bryan. “We think Phayvanh’s going to be an awesome pick.”
Luekhamhan, 35, was one of about 25 applicants for a position that was vacated last December when Chuck D’Aprix abruptly resigned after just three months on the job.
D’Aprix, who has decades of experience on downtown development, moved from Washington, D.C., to take the executive director position.
Luekhamhan, a Montpelier resident, is already well-known in the downtown business community, said Bryan, and has already proven herself through her volunteer work organizing Art Walk and Poetry Alive events for Montpelier Alive.
Luekhamhan is more of a “known quantity,” said Bryan, and he has heard from members of the nonprofit who are pleased with the hire.
“She has a great reputation and lots of folks have said already, ‘Gosh, we’re thrilled,’” said Bryan.
Luekhamhan, a native of Laos who grew up in Brattleboro, is also thrilled about the job.
“I’ve been giddy all week,” she said.
Luekhamhan moved to Montpelier in 2007 and began volunteering with Montpelier Alive in 2009, and is now in the midst of putting together Poetry Alive, which takes place in April.
Since moving here, Luekhamhan has worked at Gesine Confectionery, which then became Birchgrove Baking. She left Birch Grove and began working at Rivendell Books in October.
Luekhamhan said that living, working and volunteering downtown has given her an appreciation for what Montpelier has to offer and introduced her to many active community members.
“Everybody is so nice in town,” she said. “It’s really great.”
Montpelier Alive is a private nonprofit but receives funding from the city.
In addition to smaller events like Art Walk, the nonprofit throws big Independence Day and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Luekhamhan plans to start next week.
[Montpelier in the background]