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Originally published: 2014-04-18 11:53:51
Last modified: 2014-04-18 11:54:36

Executive director departs Grandfather Mountain

by Staff Reports

After five years as president and executive director, Penn Dameron will
depart the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation effective April 18.

Dameron joined the Mountain in 2009 as it was transitioning from a
privately owned property to a nonprofit organization. He previously served
as executive director of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area and spent a
combined 30 years as a trial lawyer and Superior Court judge.

As a college student in the 1970s, Dameron had a summer job at Grandfather
Mountain, selling tickets, pumping gas at the entrance gate and helping
with the "Mildred the Bear Shows" held twice daily in the 1960s and '70s.

Dameron informed the Grandfather Mountain staff earlier this month that he
would be stepping down as president and executive director.

"I knew that my primary responsibility was not only to oversee the
conversion of Grandfather Mountain from a for-profit to a not-for-profit
corporation, but to set it on the right path so that it could achieve
greater successes in the future for generations to come," Dameron said. "I
think I have done that, and now is the time for me to hand my
responsibilities off to a new era of leadership to keep it on that path."

Vice President Harris Prevost said Dameron's expertise has been critical
during the past five years at Grandfather Mountain.

"Penn will be missed," Prevost said. "He is a class act. With his legal
background, he was just the one to navigate us through the treacherous
legal waters of transitioning from a for-profit to a nonprofit
organization. He has represented us to public audiences with class and
dignity through his understanding of Grandfather Mountain and his warm
sense of humor."

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors has
selected Chairman Jim Morton to serve as president while maintaining his
chairman role.

The board also decided not to name a new executive director at this time.
Board members are in the process of determining where they want the
Stewardship Foundation to go in the next decade and what sort of leader
will be needed to take it there.

Dameron said he was proud of the steps Grandfather Mountain has taken
during his five years at the helm.

"Its new leaders will be inheriting a corporation that is in solid
financial shape and poised to make great strides over the coming years,"
Dameron said. "It has been a great privilege to work with my fantastic
fellow employees at the Mountain."

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a not-for-profit
corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the
nature park in the public interest and participate in educational research
activities. For more information, call 800-468-7325 or plan a trip at