“This is an historic moment for our young organization,” Chuck Duritsa, chair of the Westmoreland Land Trust, said after the board endorsed the hiring of Mary Tate as the group’s first executive director at its meeting on January 20, “and the beginning of what we hope will be even greater success in conserving open space for the people of Westmoreland County.”
Tate has degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Boston Architectural College and experience in the areas of planning and preservation. She worked as a preservation specialist, preservation consultant, and city secretary in and around metro Dallas, Texas where she also was involved as a volunteer for Cub Scouts, the PTA, and Autism Awareness. Originally from western Pennsylvania, Mary and her family recently left Texas to return to the local area.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to help the Westmoreland Land Trust build on the great foundation that’s already in place,” Tate said. She will quickly get the chance to do that, as her first day on the job is Monday.
Since 2008, the nine-year-old Westmoreland Land Trust has been achieving its goals solely through the volunteered time, efforts, and energies of some 23 board members. Board members will continue their active involvement, but having Tate as the dedicated staff person will help achieve goals more quickly and comprehensively, Duritsa said.
The Westmoreland Land Trust has conserved some 235 acres in six Westmoreland County communities, including the City of Greensburg, North Huntingdon Township, and Murrysville. Its most recent acquisition was 28 acres in Rostraver Township, obtained in partnership with the Westmoreland County Bureau of Parks and Recreation, and added to Cedar Creek Park.
The Westmoreland Land Trust executive director position was created with funding from the Allegheny Foundation.