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Release Date: Thursday, November 2nd 2017

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.’s Kristopher Larson to be DRA’s Next President and CEO

RALEIGH, NC (November 2, 2017) - The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) has announced today that current  President and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), Kristopher Larson, AICP, will become the DRA’s next President and CEO. Larson will start in January 2018.

In his current role with DGRI, Larson sets the course for public and private improvements with the downtown area of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Larson also served as deputy director for the DRA from 2004 to 2007, followed by senior planner for the Raleigh Urban Design Center from 2007 to 2009. Before joining DGRI, Larson served as vice president of Downtown Long Beach Associates for three years in Long Beach, California.

“We are very excited about Kristopher returning to Raleigh to lead our organization,” said DRA Board Chair Jon Wilson. “Kristopher’s leadership experience in other growing cities, coupled with his history in the Triangle, made him uniquely qualified for this role. His addition to our downtown Raleigh leadership team positions North Carolina’s downtown for a new chapter of sustainable and healthy economic growth.”

Larson is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association and is a credentialed member of the American Planning Association. Larson has been honored as a “40 Under 40” member in both Long Beach and Grand Rapids, and was named Grand Rapids’ “Young Professional of the Year” in 2014.

“During the search process, we met several highly qualified individuals, but Kristopher’s history with Raleigh combined with his innovative ideas about the variety of opportunities for Downtown really set him apart,” said Search Committee Chair Sharon Moe. “We are excited to welcome him home and to have him lead the DRA into the future.”

Larson holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from NC State University, and is currently a Daniel Rose Fellow through the Rose Center for Public Leadership, a collaboration between the Urban Land Institute and the National League of Cities. Larson will move to Raleigh with his wife Elizabeth.

“Downtown Raleigh has longed played a foundational role in my heart and in my career,” Larson said. “Its urban fabric is where I discovered, nearly three decades ago, that cities evoke a sense of aspiration, excitement, and freedom. My desire to make downtown Raleigh a more healthy, vibrant, and livable neighborhood sparked my interest in the urban place management industry. To return now to the city and organization that nurtured and launched my career is a truly special opportunity and privilege. I can’t wait to get back to work helping my hometown.”




About Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA):

DRA is an award-winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of Raleigh’s downtown. The Alliance enhances the quality of life and positively impacts the economic success of downtown through six core services:  1. Safety & Hospitality Ambassadors; 2. Strategic Branding & Community Communications; 3. Events Production; 4. Retail Attraction & Merchant Promotions; 5. Strategic Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement; and 6. Strategic Planning. For more information about DRA, please visit www.YouRHere.com.