Downtown

Renton Downtown Partnership hires Christian Switzer as first executive director

Hiring will allow partnership to pursue Main Street Program designation

RENTON, WA – Renton Downtown Partnership (RDP) has hired Christian Switzer as the organization’s first executive director. She started her position on March 14.

“We’re extremely excited to bring Christian to Renton,” said Sheila Humphries, Renton Downtown Partnership president.  “She’s an experienced business leader and innovator with a record of success. We’re anxious to merge that success with our vision for downtown Renton.”

Ms. Switzer comes to the partnership from Orlando, Florida, where she served as executive director of Ivanhoe Village Main Street in Orlando. Under her leadership, the organization expanded to host 15 events a year, up from one before her arrival. The events included quarterly cleanups, holiday kickoffs, children’s village, and ones featuring live music and vendors. She also engineered a 125% increase in memberships in her first two years.

“I have experienced first-hand how a Main Street program can impact a vibrant city like Renton,” said Ms. Switzer. “I’m excited to start working with downtown business owners and learn their vision.”

Ms. Switzer received a Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Central Florida in 2015 and a Leadership Development Certification from Main Street America Institute in 2021. In addition, the Orlando Business Journal named her one of Central Florida’s 40 Under 40 to watch in 2020.

“Hiring Christian as the partnership’s first executive director is a major part of our plan to create a thriving, vibrant downtown Renton,” said Renton Mayor Armondo Pavone. “Her experience and success will be instrumental in building upon the progress made by partnership members.”

To underscore the priority and success of becoming a designated Main Street Community, the City of Renton will support the executive director position for two years. During this time, Ms. Switzer will work on obtaining state designation and developing self-sustaining funding sources.

Achieving a Main Street designation allows downtown businesses to access needed resources, networking opportunities, training, and advanced resources to assist growth. Options are also available to earn Business & Occupation or Public Utility tax credits. The process is guided by Renton Downtown Partnership, a registered 501c3, founded in 2014 and dedicated to revitalizing Downtown Renton while preserving its unique character and history.

About Renton Downtown Partnership

The Renton Downtown Partnership unites the community, nonprofits, and stakeholders to create a vibrant social, cultural, and economic center while celebrating Downtown Renton’s unique historic character.

About the Main Street Program

The Washington State Main Street Program assists communities in developing strategies to stimulate long-term economic growth and pride in their downtown commercial districts. The strategies revitalize the economy, appearance, and image through a comprehensive and incremental approach built on a community’s unique heritage and attributes. The program started in 1984 and moved from the Washington State Department of Commerce to the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation in 2010. The program is managed (under contract) by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

Photo credit: @kelseyannejohnsonphotography