The executive director who oversaw the launch of The Reach museum in the west end of Columbia Park has announced her resignation.
Lisa Toomey submitted a resignation letter to the Reach board Thursday.
The Reach center — a hybrid interpretive center, museum, science center and performing arts venue — opened two years ago in Richland.
“It was a very hard decision and took me weeks to work my way through, but I am ready to retire and also ready to support a new director as they expand and grow the Reach to become an even greater local and regional asset,” Toomey told the Herald.
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The resignation is effective Dec. 31.
“My tenure with the Reach has been one of the most rewarding professional activities of my life, as well as one of the most challenging. The opportunity to contribute to building, opening and operating the Reach will always be a high water mark in my career,” she wrote in her resignation letter.
Toomey was hired as the CEO of the Reach four years ago with the goal of building the facility.
It was a very hard decision and took me weeks to work my way through, but I am ready to retire and also ready to support a new director as they expand and grow the Reach to become an even greater local and regional asset.
She helped to downsize the project by 75 percent in 2012. The facility opened July 4, 2014. Twelve months later, the Reach celebrated its first anniversary with 870 members, 35,461 visitors and 7,215 students.
“As the REACH continues its transition from a building of ‘brick and mortar,’ to a beloved institution, it is time to also transition CEOs and to take the work accomplished over the last four years to expand the REACH to fulfill the tremendous potential it now represents,” Toomey said in her letter.
Toomey also said that she’s committed to working with the board “to assure a smooth transition of leadership that enables continued continuity for staff, volunteers, donors, members and visitors.”
She has worked for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Education Service District 123, has managed the Washington State Wine Expo and owned a consulting business.
She also worked for almost six years at Columbia Basin College, developing the college’s agriculture program, which involved raising more than $1 million from private sources to establish the program.
She has been involved with Olive Crest, a nonprofit that serves foster children and foster families. She is married to retired Port of Pasco Executive Director Jim Toomey.