Lin Erickson Beginning a Second Tenure as Da Vinci Science Center CEO
ALLENTOWN, Pa., March, 18, 2013 – The Da Vinci Science Center (DSC) announced today that Lin Erickson – who led the organization from 1997-2005 – is beginning her second tenure today as the organization’s Executive Director and CEO.
Lin Erickson was elected unanimously by the Da Vinci Science Center’s Board of Trustees after a national search of nearly 175 candidates. She has more than 25 years experience spearheading educational initiatives for students from kindergarten through college – raising more than $46 million from public and private sources. Erickson was Chief Development Officer of the Air Force Museum Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, from June 2011-Feb. 2013, and Director of Government, Corporate, and Foundation Relations at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, from 2006-2011.
Erickson stepped down as CEO of what was known at the time as the Da Vinci Discovery Center in Bethlehem, Pa., in Aug. 2005 – shortly after her husband, Mark Erickson, became President of Wittenberg University. Mark Erickson returned to the Lehigh Valley region in 2012 to become President of Northampton Community College (NCC) in Bethlehem, Pa., motivating Lin Erickson to seek a position in Lehigh Valley region. The search for the Da Vinci Science Center’s next CEO, which began in Jan. 2013, provided a poignant homecoming opportunity.
“I am deeply honored to be chosen as the next CEO of the organization that has provided me with the most rewarding experience of my career,” Erickson said. “For me, this opportunity is not about returning, it is about moving forward. The Da Vinci Science Center has grown remarkably since 2005, and I embrace the challenge of working with its exceptional staff to build upon the sizable momentum it has created, especially over the past two years.”
In her work at the Air Force Museum Foundation, Lin Erickson oversaw a $48 million campaign for a new 224,000-square-foot building for the museum’s presidential aircraft collection, space-related artifacts, and global reach transport aircraft. At Wittenberg University, she raised more than $7 million to support capital projects; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs; teacher training programs; and community outreach initiatives. With what was then the Da Vinci Discovery Center, she directed campaigns of $1.9 million and $10.8 million, with the latter supporting the construction of the Center’s current facility in Allentown, Pa.
The Center re-established its operations in Allentown in Oct. 2005. The expanded and modernized visitor experience allowed for a deeper emphasis on public visitation, expanding its reach throughout the greater Lehigh Valley region, and developing programs for additional age groups.
Emerging as the Da Vinci Science Center in the following years, the organization has adopted a focus on scientific and technical careers. Along with achieving a record number of 93,503 total participants in its 2012 fiscal year, the Center has posted a 60.1 percent increase in total participation and a 23.0 percent membership sales increase in its 2013 fiscal year to date as of Feb. 28, 2013. The Center also has established integrated workforce development initiatives as its signature experiences. These initiatives integrate a limited-engagement exhibit experience with community programming that highlights industry workforce development needs and opportunities. The Center also has positioned itself as a leading authority on science, technology, and education for eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey.
The Da Vinci Science Center’s popularity has risen to greater heights since the beginning of its Year of the Human Body project with St. Luke’s University Health Network in the fall of 2012 and the appearance of the world-famous Bodies Revealed exhibition. While the Da Vinci Science Center has grown considerably since Erickson’s first tenure, its Trustees believe she is the right leader at the right time to continue its evolution.
“The Center’s Board of Trustees is excited about the appointment of Lin Erickson to lead the next chapter of the Center’s development,” said Chairman Frank K. Schweighardt, Ph.D. “Lin’s track record, relationships, and vision demonstrate the qualities necessary for our organization to achieve extended stability and growth.”
Troy A. Thrash, who had led the Da Vinci Science Center starting in March 2009, transitioned in Jan. 2013 to become President and CEO of the Air Zoo museum, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate in Portage, Mich. MaryAnn Woods Przekurat, the Center’s Director of Finance and Human Resources, had served as the organization’s interim CEO since Jan. 24, 2013, and returned today to her permanent position.