The Daily Pulse:

Turnover at Community Design Center

Last December, the East Tennessee Community Design Center hired a high-profile replacement for retiring Executive Director, Dave Watson, who'd held that top job for several years. John C. Merino, who'd held leadership roles in several urban projects and nonprofits in the New York area, promised to shake things up a little. But just six months later, he's already left the job, reportedly for "family reasons"--though we've been hearing reports of personality conflicts. During his short tenure, the ETCDC moved from its longtime home in the Fidelity Building on Gay Street to the Greystone property on Broadway.

We're sorry we never got to meet the guy. We were looking forward to confirming rumors that he was the same John C. Merino who's a well-connected guitarist who was once associated with several legendary folks acts in the '70s (including the Knoxville-originated band, Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong) and who more recently played on a 10,000 Maniacs recording.

For the time being, he's being replaced by Interim Executive Director Mary Linda Schwarzbart, a longtime community organizer associated with Leadership Knoxville, and currently lead researcher for the Collaborative Grant Center. The ETCDC has begun another search for a permanent executive director.

ETCDC board President Jason Woodle said, "The Design Center is fortunate that Mary Linda is available to help us move forward at this exciting time. We have a number of important projects in progress and know her considerable talents will benefit our community and our region. She is a true advocate for the ETCDC."

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