Richmond Main Street Initiative names new executive director

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Richmond Main Street Initiative names new executive director
Andrea Portillo-Knowles (Photo courtesy of Richmond Main Street Initiative.)

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI), a nonprofit that aims to revitalize downtown Richmond, has announced Andrea Portillo-Knowles as its new executive director. Knowles comes to the organization from her most recent role as Bay Area district director of the Boy Scouts of America; she is also a U.S. Air Force veteran, mother and military spouse, said the organization.

RMSI’s Interim Executive Director Alicia Gallo, who has worked for the organization for 11 years, will support Knowles’ transition into her new role through Sept. 30.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with community leaders and business partners to continue this movement to bring back Richmond’s historic downtown in a way that meets the needs of our residents, businesses and visitors,” said Knowles. 

Knowles arrives at RMSI with a background that includes two tours in the Middle East as a member of the U.S. Air Force. Currently, she serves as a board member for the Solano Community Foundation and on the Advisory Council for Women in Leadership for Executives, Chico State University. Knowles’ educational pedigree includes degrees from the Community College of the Air Force, Middle Georgia State University and a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Walden University.

Gallo remarked that Knowles is “enthusiastically jumping into the top executive position of RMSI, which has played a key role in revitalizing Richmond’s historic downtown over the past 20 years,” noting that work has included preserving and attracting businesses, the development of the Richmond Business Hub, streetscape renovation projects, neighborhood ambassadors and various arts, cultural and ‘shop local’ activities.

“RMSI is extremely excited to continue the momentum that we’ve built under Mrs. Knowles’ leadership,” added Gallo.

For more info about RMSI, click here.