Tom Yots, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara was the SAH Local Committee Chair of the SAH 2013 Annual Meeting in Buffalo. The following announcement was published in Preservation Buffalo Niagara's most recent newsletter:
As many of you know, I will be retiring from my position as Executive Director and my last day will be Friday, May 30th. I am grateful to have had this opportunity since March of 2012 to be in this position and to receive the support of the Board of Trustees and the membership during that time. I could not possibly write about my experiences as Executive Director without thanking Jason Wilson who was literally at my side throughout the past two years. Jason and I worked as partners in our positions at PBN and together, with the support of the Board, we were successful at transforming the methodology of doing preservation in the Buffalo Niagara community. Of course there was a time in our community when hard-line techniques were needed (we are, after all, the community that allowed the demolition of Wright's landmark Larkin Administration Building) and there are still times when aggressive measures are needed. But times have indeed changed here and our community has evolved when it comes to historic preservation. Jason and I were able to lead PBN with an approach involving reasonable discourse and cooperative action. Most times we met success with this approach, although admittedly at varied levels with different initiatives. But would there have been a Trico announcement or a St. Ann's story if we had not approached each of these with a reasonable but determined focus? I hope that each of these projects makes it through to the currently explored plans and, if they do, then we can add those to the list supporting this new way of doing business. I am proud of having played a part in this transformation and I am grateful to all who supported the efforts that have made this happen. And, I am confident that PBN has in place a highly qualified, dedicated staff and interim director who share this vision and will assure that the organization will continue on this path to success.
For each of us there comes a time when we know that some change is needed in our lives and I must admit that I am at that point. I am especially grateful to members of my family who have brought me to the realization that the time is very right for this. I have an amazing family: my wife, Louise, who has been my loving partner and closest friend for the past 47 years, my sons Jason and Ben, whom any parent could only dream of having, their beautiful, accomplished wives and five truly wonderful grandchildren. They have all told me that they want more of me in their lives and who am I to pass that up? I have already made a deal with all five of my grandchildren that in return for teaching them about architecture and classical music, they will teach me how to do something that they do expertly and I have never done in my life: they have agreed to teach me how to fish. And, I have so much to learn. When I asked my 12 year old grandson Jacob where we would go to fish, he looked at me with very patient eyes and answered "anywhere there's water, Papa, anywhere there's water." So I guess if you want to see me in the future, you should check out all of the area's water resources and a sea wall on Eastchester Bay.
In "Little Gidding", T.S. Eliot wrote: "To make an end is to make a beginning---the end is where we start from." As I approach the end of my tenure as Executive Director I am allowing myself to remain open to whatever that new beginning will be for me and when it comes I will embrace it as I have every endeavor in my life.
Thank you for all of your support and I look forward to seeing you in our beautiful, historic community.
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