Some people pass the torch. Others pass the eight ball.
George Phillips, executive director of Prince George’s Exploration Place, passed his lucky eight ball to assistant director Tracy Boychuk earlier this week, a symbolic gesture in light of Phillips’ recent resignation and Boychuk’s new appointment as executive director.
Phillips, who provided 10 years of leadership at the award-winning facility, is leaving his post to become manager of a museum located inside a 25-acre village in Markham, Ontario.
“It was a tough decision to make. I have become integrated organically into this place,” said Phillips.
A decade ago when he came to the facility, then-named the Fraser-Fort George Museum, he thought solving its problems would be relatively easy. But change took time. “Regional” was added to the name, the building was renovated and finally radical program changes were implemented.
“The museum was undercapitalized so we needed to bring it up to standard and make it more appealing to visitors and create a foundation to build on in the future. The experiment to go hands on, interactive and heavily programmed has kept our re-visit rate among the highest in Canada, averaging nine revisits a year per member,” said Phillips.
Under the out-going director, The Exploration Place won Best New Attraction in B.C. from Attractions Canada in 2002, Best Marketing Campaign from B.C. Tourism in 2001, based on that year’s relaunch campaign for the reopening, a 2002 Northern Pride Award and an award for his leadership the same year from B.C. Tourism.
The Exploration Place’s president Tom Dielissen announced Boychuck as the new executive director at a meeting Tuesday night.
“Tracy has a lot of respect for her work among staff,” said Phillips, adding that due to the fact that as assistant director she was trained under a succession policy to fill his role should the need suddenly arise, her transition into the executive director role should be seamless.
“I’m very proud of the work I’ve done here over the last nine years and am excited about the prospect of building on that in the future,” said Boychuk.