Edison & Ford Winter Estates President to Leave at end of Year

10/09/2017

Media Contacts:
Chris Pendleton, president & CEO
Lisa Wilson, public relations coordinator
239-334-7419
 PHOTO: Chris Pendleton, president & CEO of Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

 Edison & Ford Winter Estates President to Leave at end of Year
 FORT MYERS, Fla. (October 9, 2017) -- Chris Pendleton, president & CEO of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, has announced she is leaving the nonprofit at the end of 2017. Her resignation was regretfully accepted at the board of trustees meeting on September 27, 2017. 
 
“It is a very happy time for me as I will get married in early 2018, and pursue other opportunities during the next phase of my life,” said Pendleton. “I am very proud of my achievements from the past 16 years, and I know that I am leaving Edison Ford in an excellent position for the future.”
 
During her tenure as president & CEO, Pendleton undertook several major projects to restore and preserve the history, structures and gardens created by Thomas Edison and Henry Ford for future generations. The site has been nationally recognized for those accomplishments. Among the various awards, she is particularly proud of receiving the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Trustee Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites; the Award of Excellence from the National Garden Clubs, Inc.; and the Exceptional Leadership Award from the Florida Association of Museums. In 2014, the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory was designated a National Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society. The annual Holiday Nights event was named in USA Today as one of the 10 Best Historic Homes for the Holidays. More than 250,000 people visit the site every year.
 
“What Chris has done for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates over the past 16 years is immeasurable,” said Lee Golden, chairman of the board of trustees. "She and her staff have worked diligently over the years to raise the quality of all aspects of the Estates. Chris has built an amazing team that will ensure continued success in the future. The next president and CEO will certainly benefit from the strength of the team they inherit. Although the staff, board of trustees and community will miss Chris’ involvement and leadership, we are truly happy that she is moving on to the next adventure in her personal and professional life.”
 
“I was hired in 2001 to investigate ways that the site could operate successfully as an independent nonprofit organization and to accomplish the initial restoration of the buildings, gardens and museum,” said Pendleton. “Now 16 years later, we have completed $14 million in restoration and preservation projects, operate on our own with annual revenues in excess of $6 million, and enhance the site annually with about $500,000 in preservation and growth. I am very proud of the staff and management team headed by Mike Cosden, chief operating officer; Rob Solomon, buildings & grounds director; Tom Hottovy, chief financial officer; and Lisa Sbuttoni, vice president of community & visitor relations. We currently have 80 paid employees, 250 volunteers and 21 dedicated community members that serve on the board of trustees. They are a very dedicated, professional and highly skilled group, and will continue the legacy of excellent care and program development at Edison Ford for our visitors to enjoy a memorable and informative experience.”
 
“The significance and importance of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates warrants a broad, national search to ensure we find the best person to successfully build on the legacy that Chris has cemented after her 16 years of transformative and exceptional leadership,” said Steve Niehaus, past chairman.
 
“The board of trustees understands the importance of finding the best fit for the incoming president and CEO,” said Golden. “This position is wide in responsibilities, ranging from financial and administrative oversight, to relations with the local community, City of Fort Myers and the Edison and Ford foundations. Furthermore, focus cannot be taken off of our long term strategic plan and mission. The board has created a formal search committee and confidential application and interview process. We are committed to finding the best possible candidate to fill the role of president and CEO for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. The application for the position will be posted on the Edison Ford website at www.EdisonFordWinterEstates.org.”

For more information, call 239-334-7419 or visit www.EdisonFordWinterEstates.org
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Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Edison Ford has been awarded the National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures," a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. Recently, the Edison Botanical Laboratory was designated as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.