A familiar face at the Maryland Science Center is being promoted to president and CEO of the Inner Harbor museum this fall.
The center’s board of trustees voted today to appoint vice president of development Mark Potter to the top role in October, when longtime CEO Van Reiner retires. Potter has directed the center’s fundraising efforts since 2011, spearheading its ongoing capital campaign, which so far has raised $5 million of its $7.5 million goal, and implementing a strategic development plan that the center says has spawned a 30 percent boost in donors.
Board chairman David Amy said in a release that the board started a search committee after learning of Reiner’s intention to step down after 13 years, but found “we had the ideal candidate already at the Maryland Science Center.”
Potter said he’s “humbled and excited” to succeed Reiner, who’s overseen expansions of the science center’s educational and community outreach initiatives, and enhancements to its exhibitions and green infrastructure, including installations of solar panels and permeable pavement.
Under his leadership, the center launched Head Start and Traveling Science programs around Maryland, and introduced science- and engineering-centric family nights at schools and community centers in three states.
He’s also represented the center on a national level, serving as a board member and public policy committee co-chair for the Association of Science – Technology Centers, which advocates for informal science education interests and funding across the country.
“I’ve been fortunate to see the impact of informal science education for millions of children, as well as the generosity and recognition from across the state,” Reiner said in a statement. “I’m grateful that the Maryland Science Center will be led by Mark Potter, who clearly has a passion for our work.”
Reiner, a former Bethlehem Steel Corp. division president, joined the museum in 2004 after its then-executive director, Gregory P. Andorfer, unexpectedly stepped down. The change in leadership happened shortly after the center unveiled renovations that doubled the size of its exhibition space and brought in interactive exhibitions, according to coverage at the time from the Sun.
Before taking charge of fundraising for the Inner Harbor museum, Potter spent 11 years as executive director and development director for the Basilica of the Assumption Historic Trust downtown. Prior to that, he was a teacher and administrator for 16 years at Archbishop Curley High School in East Baltimore.
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