National Main Street Center, Inc., Staff
Patrice Frey, President and CEO
Patrice Frey is President and CEO of the National Main Street Center, where she oversees the Center’s work, offering technical assistance, research, advocacy, and education and training opportunities for Main Street’s network of approximately 1,100 communities. Based in Chicago, Illinois, the National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history. Before joining the National Main Street Center in May 2013, Patrice serviced as the Director of Sustainability at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she oversaw the National Trust’s efforts to promote the reuse and greening of older and historic buildings, including research and policy development work through the Seattle-based Preservation Green Lab.
Before joining the National Trust, Patrice worked for several years in the field of community development and urban research. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's program in historic preservation, where she received a master's degree in preservation planning and a certificate in real estate design and development through the Penn School of Design and Wharton Business School. Patrice completed her master's thesis on the application of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards to historic buildings. Patrice also worked for the City of Goleta, California, where she coordinated the acquisition and preservation of coastal open space, as well as a number of community development related programs. Prior to her time in Goleta, Patrice worked for the Brookings Institution’s Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy in Washington, D.C., where she served as the executive assistant to the center director. She received her bachelor's degree in politics and international relations from Scripps College in Claremont, California.
Kathy LaPlante, Senior Main Street Program Officer
Kathy La Plante is a Senior Program Officer with more than 23 years of Main Street experience. Her expertise at the National Main Street Center is building organizational capacity and developing promotional programming. Her work primarily revolves around providing direction in program start-ups at the local, regional, and statewide levels. Most recently, she worked to establish the Portland, Oregon, and Idaho Main Street programs. Annually she conducts assessments of statewide programs and conducts new coordinator orientation. Kathy served as the first director/state coordinator for the New Hampshire Main Street Center from 1996 until 2006 where she provided technical assistance and training for 23 new Main Street communities, including two winners of the Great American Main Street Award (GAMSA). Prior to that, she spent seven years as the executive director for the Chippewa Falls (Wisconsin) Main Street Program, a 1996 GAMSA winner. Before starting her Main Street career, Kathy was in retail management for 12 years, with 10 years spent working for Spurgeon’s department stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. She attended the University of Wisconsin–Stout (Menomonie). Please click here to view Kathy's listing in the Allied Services Directory. ;
Norma Ramírez de Miess, Senior Main Street Program Officer
Norma Ramirez de Miess helps communities across the nation assess organizational and programming needs and implement strategies that build successful revitalization efforts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in language and science and studied civil engineering with an emphasis on transportation. She has more than 20 years of leadership experience in international heritage tourism, entrepreneurship development, disaster relief, nonprofit management, and direct local Main Street efforts. Born and raised in a family of entrepreneurs and community leaders in Latin America, Norma has a solid understanding of our increasing diversity. She developed the National Main Street Center’s diversity services and leads initiatives that promote inclusion and understanding of the process of involving and understanding the business approach of multi-cultural entrepreneurs. Norma has also been involved in developing international collaboration with organizations and governments that are implementing the Main Street Four Point Approach® in Taiwan, Mexico, and Panama. Before joining the Center, Norma led one of the largest and most diverse urban downtown revitalization programs in Elgin, Illinois, where she was honored for her leadership and contributions. She was also recognized as one of the 25 Most Influential Latino Leaders in the Chicago-land area. Please click here to view Norma's listing in the Allied Services Directory.
Rachel Bowdon, Associate Manager of Communications
Rachel Bowdon joined the National Main Street Center in September 2013 as the Associate Manager of Communications. Rachel is responsible for the membership communication efforts of the Center, including managing social media, updating and maintaining the website, and preparing and distributing NMSC’s weekly news publication, Main Street Weekly. Rachel also participates on the National Main Streets Conference Communication Committee, serving as a key liaison between conference organizers and the Center. Prior to joining NMSC, Rachel worked for the Sustainability initiative and Preservation Green Lab at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She graduated with a degree in Art History from DePaul University and received a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Hannah White, Membership Coordinator
Hannah White joined the National Main Street Center as the Program Assistant in July 2013 and assumed the role of Membership Coordinator in December 2013. As Membership Coordinator, Hannah plays a key role in the NMSC’s efforts to restructure, diversify, and grow the Center’s membership programs and is also responsible for supporting and delivering enhanced services to our existing members. Prior to joining NMSC, Hannah worked in the public policy department at Donors Forum. She graduated with a degree in History from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and received a Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.
Debra Wise, Senior Business Manager
Debra Wise is the Senior Business Manager for the National Main Street Center. Debra brings more than 28 years of experience and expertise in the management of the Center’s financial operations. As the Senior Business Manager Debra manages a full range of administrative, financial and operational duties which include human resources, budgeting, and accounting responsibilities. Prior to joining the National Trust, Debra spent ten years employed with the City of New York and attended Baruch College, focusing on business administration. Debra joined the National Main Street Center during the Center’s Urban Demonstration Project in 1986.