Presidio of San Francisco (August 10, 2012) --President Barack Obama has named two prominent Bay Area leaders to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors - Paula R.Collins and Alex Mehran. The White House also re-appointed Nancy Bechtle, current Trust board chair. Ms. Collins and Mr. Mehran are replacing outgoing board membersJ. Michael Shepherdand Bill Wilson.View biographies of all Trust board members >>
Paula R. Collins is the chief executive officer of WDG Ventures, Inc., a real estate development company in Northern California, and president of Portfolio Real Estate Consulting. Part of the original project development team for the Moscone Convention Center, Ms. Collins is a founder and director of Presidio Bank in San Francisco, a member of the national board of the Automobile Association of America and has served as an appointee to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Visiting Committee for the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In addition, she is co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, a member of the board of the Special Olympics for Northern California and has served on the Board of Directors of the BRIDGE Housing Corporation. Ms. Collins has been awarded the prestigious Silver Spur Award by the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research organization, in honor of her dedication to improving the quality of life and economic health of San Francisco; and has been honored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the San Francisco Business Times. She graduated cum laude in urban studies from Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts and received her master's degree in city planning from MIT. Ms. Collins replaces Mr. Shepherd.
A Bay Area native, Alex Mehran is the president and chief executive officer of Sunset Development Company, a San Ramon based real estate development, investment, construction and management company founded by his father almost 60 years ago. Mr. Mehran is chair of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership, a trustee of the San Francisco Ballet and a member of the University of California, San Francisco Chancellor's Associates. In addition, he is a past chairman and current executive committee member of the Bay Area Council and is a former trustee of the Urban Land Institute and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Mr. Mehran received his bachelor's degree from Harvard College, where he graduated with honors. He earned a law degree, also with honors, from England's Cambridge University. Mr. Mehran replaces Mr. Wilson.
"Alex and Paula are joining the board at a very exciting time - the Presidio Trust is now financially self-sufficient and we are seeing the benefits of a decade worth of investments in the park," said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "Alex and Paula will be instrumental in helping us expand the public benefit of the Presidio to the local community and the nation."
A fourth generation San Franciscan, Nancy Bechtle grew up across the street from the Presidio, and, as a child would scale the base's walls to play in Julius Kahn Park. Once, she was even kicked out for riding her horse on the base. Appointed to the Trust's board by President George W. Bush in 2008, Ms. Bechtle was first elected chair in 2009. She is chairman of the board of the Sugar Bowl Corporation, serves on the board of directors for the Charles Schwab Corporation and is a former chief financial officer and director of J.R. Bechtle and Company. A past president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco Symphony, Ms. Bechtle has served on the symphony's board of governors since 1984 and has also served on the board of the San Francisco Opera Association. In addition she has served on the board of the National Park Foundation, holding the board's citizen chair from 2005 to 2007. Ms. Bechtle recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco and has received a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the California Arts Council and the Investment in Leadership award from the Coro Foundation, among her many other honors.
"I am pleased to welcome these very talented and accomplished people to the board," said Nancy Bechtle. "The experience that Paula and Alex bring will be great assets as the Trust expands its public-serving programs while continuing to keep an eye on ensuring the park's self-sufficiency."
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. An executive director reports to the board and oversees a staff with expertise including environmental science, historic preservation, operations and maintenance, landscape design, planning, resource management, real estate development, programs, law, and finance.
The Presidio Trustwas established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site that is 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 aNational Historic Landmark District."