Executive Director Kim Trent Has Retired After 15 Years


Dear Friends of Knox Heritage and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance,

I’m writing to let you know that I am retiring from Knox Heritage to start a new chapter in my career after 15 years as executive director and a previous eight years as a volunteer member of the Board of Directors. I will be handing the reins over to our amazing Director of Preservation Services, Todd Morgan, on January 31, and he will serve as our Interim Executive Director while the Board of Directors conducts a national search for our new leader. I will assist over the course of this spring to help insure a smooth transition and welcome my successor to our preservation family. I know all of you will also help in those efforts.

You will definitely be in good hands throughout this exciting process. As you know, Knoxville is a great place to live and work, and Knox Heritage has a national reputation for excellence and effectiveness, so I am confident we will find the right person to lead the organization in its next chapter. I have no doubt that chapter will be successful with the help of our talented and dedicated staff, countless loyal donors and supporters, unprecedented community engagement, a solid financial position, and a dedicated Board of Directors.

My work with Knox Heritage has been the most meaningful experience of my professional career. We have accomplished so much together and helped change the face of Knoxville and our East Tennessee region for the better. We have nurtured strong support for preserving the historic places that define our community and that support has resulted in countless historic places being preserved for new generations. Those historic places are now an integral part of our region being poised for success in the 21st century. We could never have accomplished that success without you – our loyal and passionate supporters and volunteers!

Some of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had over the last 15 years include:

• working with now-Governor Bill Haslam and the Regal Entertainment Group to save the historic buildings in the 500 block of Gay Street as part of the construction of the Regal Riviera theatre complex;
• working in partnership with the Aslan Foundation to make Historic Westwood the home of Knox Heritage and the Regional Center for Preservation Education;
• helping bring HGTV’s Restore America initiative to Knoxville, restoring two architecturally significant George Barber-designed homes in the Parkridge neighborhood in East Knoxville;
• expanding our work across the 16-county Knoxville region through the creation of the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance;
• working with local governments on historic zoning initiatives and the creation of the demolition delay ordinance in Knoxville, specifically designed to help save historic buildings from demolition;
• helping home and business owners understand the benefits of historic preservation and assisting them with restoration and preservation planning;
• educating the community and local leaders about the value of historic preservation and the positive economic effect historic preservation has on the community;
• positioning Knox Heritage as a national leader in the preservation movement and mentoring preservation organizations across the country who view Knox Heritage as a role model;
• rescuing and restoring 12 endangered historic homes for new families to enjoy in the Parkridge, Old North Knoxville, 4th & Gill, Fort Sanders and Edgewood Neighborhoods through our Vintage Properties Program;
• serving on the Board of Directors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and chairwoman of the Trust’s Statewide and Local Partners;
• working with countless, dedicated volunteers to make our work successful, impactful and fun; and
• helping Kox Heritage grow from an unstaffed, all-volunteer organization to the effective and respected organization it is today.

I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in my career and I’m happy to say I will be staying in Knoxville and remaining deeply involved in helping to continue the vibrant growth our community is now experiencing. In February, I will begin a new adventure as an agent with Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, working in both residential and commercial real estate where I can put my years of experience to good use. In addition, I will continue consulting with preservation organizations and preservation developers across the country through my new firm, Preservation Strategies, and my work with the National Association of Preservation Commissions. And, of course, I will remain a loyal supporter and volunteer for Knox Heritage and the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.

I look forward to seeing all of you again soon and helping preservation remain a top priority across East Tennessee. You can always reach me at kim@kimtrentpreservationstrategies.com or (865) 705-1397.

I will be forever grateful for the support you have shown to me and Knox Heritage over the last 23 years. That support has made all the difference.

With warm regards and heartfelt thanks,