The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


July 28, 2013

Discovery Place's John Mackay to Retire at Year End

Long-time president and CEO presided over period of expansion and renovation

Sunday, July 28, 2013 — CHARLOTTE -- John Mackay, president and CEO, Discovery Place, Inc. will retire from the science and technology center at the end of 2013, capping a long career at one of the region's premier attractions.


            In his 13 years at the helm of the organization, the 64-year-old Mackay expanded its reach and influence by launching a new, branded network of children’s museums, known as Discovery Place KIDS, with two initial locations in Huntersville and Rockingham; attracting world-renowned exhibitions to the uptown Charlotte facility; overseeing a complete overhaul of Discovery Place;  expanding Charlotte Nature Museum's outdoor and indoor experiences; and, most recently, announcing plans for a unique center dedicated to the professional development of educators in science, technology, engineering and math.  During Mackay’s tenure, Discovery Place, Inc., has earned numerous accolades, recently being featured as one of the nation’s top 10 Great Family-Friendly Museums in USA Today.


            "My life and much of my career have been intertwined with Discovery Place and Charlotte Nature Museum, and so the decision to step down is both sad and exciting. I am so proud of the learning experiences that we have provided, and will continue to provide, to people of all ages and diverse backgrounds throughout this region," said Mackay. 

"With a new strategic plan, new facilities poised to grow and one of the most talented and passionate teams of professionals around, the time is right for the energy of new leadership to bring the organization to the next level."


            The Discovery Place, Inc. Board of Trustees has formed a search committee led by Dr. Joan Lorden of UNC-Charlotte and Mark McGoldrick of Home Services Lending to conduct a national search for a new chief executive.


            "With John's leadership, Discovery Place has expanded, excelled and been recognized as one of the nation's leading science centers. His vision to extend the region's learning opportunities beyond the four walls of the Tryon St. museum will benefit generations through Discovery Place KIDS and the new STEM education center," said Chris Perri, Discovery Place board chair. 

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