New executive director joins Botanical Center

Local News

The board of directors of the Quad City Botanical Center has announced Ryan Wille’s appointment as executive director.

Wille assumes the leadership position from Ami Porter, who started at the Center in 1998 and is retiring, a news release says.

“I’m looking forward to my next adventure with my family in northern Wisconsin,” Porter said. “I know the gardens will be in great hands under Ryan’s leadership. The staff are extremely talented professionals and devoted to the gardens and guests.”

“I expect a very smooth leadership transition,” Porter said. “I’m excited that the gardens have resumed regular business hours and guests have more opportunities now to see spring blooms or host an event in accordance with current mandates.”

Board Chairperson Denise Kimler noted the high level of board involvement both in the search and interview process. “We have such dedicated board members who gave their time to help us narrow down the candidate field and conduct in-person interviews.”

“We had qualified applicants from across the country and found that our best candidate was already familiar with the Botanical Center. Ryan was previously employed at the Center in both an education and marketing capacity and helped start some of our most successful events.”

“His familiarity with the gardens, staff, board, volunteers and vendors is a huge asset as we embark together on this leadership transition. And Ryan’s passion for the gardens was inspirational, giving the board assurance that he was our best choice for the executive director.”

Since Wille’s first day at the Center on April 7, he has been performing the duties of executive director. Porter will stay on staff in an advisory role consulting during the transition.

Planning is under way for the opening of Phase Two of the Children’s Garden in mid-May. The Children’s Garden expansion includes a river experience with a naturalized pond, representative of the Mississippi River headwaters in Itasca, Minn.

Wille is looking forward to engaging with guests at the Center and meeting with donors, who were instrumental in supporting the Children’s Garden expansion, at the upcoming ribbon cutting.

“My favorite part of working at the gardens was interacting with guests,” he said. “It was always fun to watch kids learn something new about plants and nature or talk with guests at the gardens for the first time to attend a wedding.”

“I’m quite humbled to be offered this opportunity to continue the programming and experiences that make the gardens a treasure to the community. And am eager to build new relationships with fellow non-profits to partner on new ways to bring people and plants together in our gardens.”

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