Kira Strong to Serve as Interim Executive Director
(Philadelphia) – Managing Director Brian Abernathy has accepted the resignation of Nicole Westerman, Executive Director of the City’s Rebuild initiative. Westerman had served as Executive Director of Rebuild since the start of the Kenney administration. He also announced that Kira Strong, Rebuild’s Deputy Director for Design and Construction, will serve as Interim Executive Director.
“Leading Rebuild has been the most rewarding and challenging position I’ve held in my career, but I’ve made the difficult decision to move on to pursue other opportunities,” said Nicole Westerman. “I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last three years and believe that Rebuild is in a strong position for long-term success. With work underway at 56 sites across Philadelphia, we’ve achieved a great deal, but of course there is still a lot to do, especially connecting more diverse businesses with contract opportunities. I’m confident in the team in place to carry out the Mayor’s bold vision for Rebuild, and am so grateful to have had this opportunity to serve the City.”
“At the outset of Rebuild, Nicole oversaw the planning and design process that resulted in the transformative program that we have today,” said Managing Director Brian Abernathy. That experience, familiarity, and background was critical to launch the initiative, which involved putting many systems and processes in place to allow a program as complex as Rebuild to successfully get off the ground; I can’t overstate how important that work has been. We’re thankful for all she’s done to get the initiative to where it is today and wish her well.”
“I’m pleased that Kira Strong, who is one of Rebuild’s original staff members and has served as Deputy Director for Design and Construction for the past three years, has agreed to step in as the interim Executive Director. Kira has a strong background in operationalizing complex community development efforts, evidenced during her time with Rebuild and, before that, as Executive Director of People’s Emergency Center CDC. I’m confident that Rebuild will continue to succeed under Kira’s leadership,” Abernathy added.
“I’m grateful for Nicole’s hard work and all that she has done for Rebuild and our city. This ambitious initiative is extremely important to me, and she is responsible for where it stands today. We thank her for her service and wish her the best in her next endeavors,” said Mayor Kenney.
While leading Rebuild, Westerman played a crucial role in helping it achieve many programmatic milestones. These include:
● Launching a historic workforce development program offering diverse Philadelphians new pathways to careers in building trades unions.
● Meeting or exceeding ambitious contract participation goals, including 30-35% of all construction contracts going to minority-owned firms, and 15-20% to women-owned firms.
● Getting work underway at 56 neighborhood parks, recreation centers and libraries representing more than $124M in committed funds for the initiative and its programs.