Fort Vancouver Blog
Leadership Changes Announced at Fort Vancouver National Trust
The Board of Directors of the Fort Vancouver National Trust announced that Elson Strahan has indicated his intent to step down from his position as president and CEO of the Trust following the completion of the Academy capital campaign and acquisition of the property.
"After nearly 12 years, I will have achieved my primary goals with the anticipated completion of the capital campaign and purchase of the Academy site in downtown Vancouver," explains Strahan. "We are finishing a new strategic planning process and this seems the perfect opportunity to hand over the reins to Mike True, who I have worked closely with over the past 10 years."
Steve Horenstein, board chair of the Trust, shared the transition plan, which includes naming True to the position of President, giving him responsibility for the full operations of the Trust and implementation of the strategic plan. Strahan will remain CEO while he completes fundraising and negotiations for the acquisition of the Academy property, and seeks funding for initial renovations.
"The board and our community are deeply indebted to Elson for his leadership and vision for the Trust, and the Reserve over the years," stated Horenstein. "From the renovations of Officer's Row and the Artillery Barracks, to the Marshall Lecture and our acclaimed aviation education platform, Elson has engaged the community in the history and significance of this site. He leaves us with a financially stable organization ready to take on the renovation and development of the Academy, one of the Northwest's most historically significant structures."
Strahan joined the Trust in 2003, tasked with the responsibility to make the organization financially sustainable and build out the organization's role to promote the preservation, education, cultural tourism of the historic site and develop enduring collaborative partnerships to further engage the broader community with the Reserve. Over more than a decade, under Strahan's leadership, the Trust assumed the master lease with the City for managing and developing Officers Row and the West Barracks; produced the most successful celebration of the end of World War II in the country partnering with the US Department of Defense; assumed responsibility and expanded the content and reach for regional Independence Day celebrations, which required the successful launch of a sustainable business plan; assumed responsibility for implementing the Veteran's Parade and creating an endowment for its perpetuity; established a successful retail operation; and hosted a series of Celebrate Freedom events that include Marshall Lectures, Leadership Awards, Flag Day commemorations, as well as many other citizenship and programs and events.
Strahan also sparked the Trust's development of a historically based aviation education program that has received regional recognition and will serve as the template for similar education programs incorporated into the new strategic plan.
Mike True joined the Trust 10 years ago quickly becoming chief financial officer and then chief operating officer, and will assume the title of president immediately. True, a certified public account is a graduate of George Fox University where he received a B.S. in Accounting and a B.A. in Business Administration with a Finance Concentration. His career spans 13 years of increasing responsibility in finance and management with Wells Fargo, Moss Adams and Crossroads Community Church.
True led the recent strategic planning process undertaken by the Trust Board of Directors, working with community leaders, consultants, board members and volunteers to revise vision, mission, values and strategies for the Trust and its changing role in the community. He will now lead development and implementation of a formal strategic action plan and oversee all operations of the organization.
Adds Board Chair, Steve Horenstein, "It has been a year of much change and new opportunities. Mike has demonstrated a canny ability to navigate both financial and organizational waters with skill, and the board believes he is uniquely qualified to implement this new strategic direction."
A 2012 graduate of Leadership Clark County, True serves on the nonprofit's board of directors as its treasurer. He is also the chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Camas School District, where he is actively involved in his children's education. True lives on a small family farm in East Vancouver with his wife and three children.