Presidio of San Francisco (December 22, 2009) -- The Presidio Trust Board of Directors has elected Nancy Hellman Bechtle as the new chair of the Trust board. A community leader and long-time park advocate, Bechtle was appointed to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors by President George W. Bush in January 2008.
"Nancy will make a wonderful board chair," said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "Her experience in park advocacy will be extremely valuable as the Trust continues to make improvements that enhance the visitor experience of the park. Nancy's business acumen will help ensure that the Trust continues to make prudent decisions as we meet our requirements for financial self-sufficiency."
A fourth-generation San Franciscan who has lived within five blocks of the Presidio since she was in grammar school, Bechtle comes from a family committed to philanthropy and civic involvement. She served from 2002 to 2008 on the National Park Foundation Board of Directors and as Citizen Chair of that foundation from 2006-2008. Bechtle was President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Francisco Symphony for 14 years, and has been on the Symphony Board of Governors since 1984. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Charles Schwab Corporation and is the chair of the board for the Sugar Bowl Corporation. Bechtle and her daughter, Jessica Galloway, recently co-chaired the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy's (Conservancy) Trails Forever dinner, which raised over $887,000 for trails and programs in the park. The amount raised was the highest of any Trails Forever dinner.
Bechtle is the third chair of the Trust board, and shares the previous chairs' commitment to parks. David H. Grubb served as board chair from December 2003 until July 2008. Grubb served previously on the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Board of Trustees and he chaired the project committee for the Crissy Field restoration effort, completed in 2001. The first chair of the Trust board, Toby Rosenblatt, served for 8 years. Rosenblatt was a founding member of the Presidio Council, and he chaired the Conservancy board.
The Presidio Trust is governed by a seven-member board of directors. Six members are appointed by the President of the United States. The seventh is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior or his designee.
"I am honored and excited to be appointed chair of the board of the Presidio Trust," said Bechtle. "David Grubb did a wonderful job as chair and he will be a hard act to follow." William Wilson served as interim board chair after Grubb's departure and will now resume his position as vice chair.
Bechtle has received several honors, including the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts from the California Arts Council and the Investment in Leadership Award from the Coro Foundation. She has also served on the boards of the San Francisco Opera Association and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. She was Chief Financial Officer and Director for J.R. Bechtle Company from 1979 to 1998.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District."