National Leader in Sustainable Communities and Preservation Named First President of National Main Street Center, Inc.

Patrice Frey, a national leader in community development at the intersection of preservation and sustainability, has been named the first president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc. Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and National Main Street Center, Inc. board chair Barbara Sidway made the announcement today.

Frey, who currently heads the National Trust’s Sustainable Communities priority, will lead the newly formed subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Main Street Center, Inc. is an extension of the 33-year old Main Street program of the National Trust, which uses historic preservation as a tool for economic development in downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. More than 2,000 communities have participated in the Main Street program since its inception, leading to more than 235,000 building rehabilitation projects and the creation of nearly 475,000 jobs in those cities and towns.

As the National Trust’s director of sustainability, Frey has conceived and grown the National Trust’s work around Sustainable Communities, which includes the Seattle-based Preservation Green Lab as well as offices in Chicago and Phoenix.  “Her entrepreneurial skills in building an effective program with national impact led the National Main Street Center board of trustees – after a long national search – to unanimously and enthusiastically choose Patrice to lead Main Street in a similar way to the next level,” said Barbara Sidway, chair of the National Main Street Center.  “As a private business owner, I am impressed by Patrice’s ability to build an organization.”

“With her outstanding track record in preservation, sustainability, community revitalization, research, and nonprofit leadership, Patrice brings the skills we need to launch this new subsidiary and expand the Main Street program,” added National Trust president Stephanie Meeks. “Through the development of cutting-edge research, innovative policy solutions and technical tools that make it easier for people to reuse and green older buildings in our Sustainable Communities priority, Patrice has demonstrated that she has the vision and leadership skills to take Main Street to new heights.”

Frey – a graduate of Scripps College and the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a Masters degree in historic preservation with a concentration in Real Estate Design and Development at the Wharton Business School — has been active in the field of preservation, community development and sustainability for almost 15 years. In her most recent position, she provides thought leadership in the sustainable communities field and has served as lead author on a number of papers and studies, including The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse.

“Patrice has shown a strong leadership sense and an ability to connect historic preservation with new and non-traditional partners that we believe will help us shape the future of the Main Street movement,” said Ms. Sidway, in making the announcement. “We were looking for someone who understood the new directions in community revitalization and sustainability, where Main Street has been an important player over the past three decades. In addition, we were seeking a strong leader who possessed the communication, fundraising, finance and networking skills required to launch a new venture, and we believe we have found those in Patrice.”

Frey will meet with the Main Street community at the annual National Main Streets Conference in New Orleans in April, and will join the National Main Street Center staff on May 1.  She will lead the National Main Street Center organization from Chicago, where the program began more than three decades ago.



The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces