After 21 years, Executive Director Rachael Snedecor is saying farewell to Livermore Downtown Inc. (LDI) and pursuing a new entrepreneurial venture set to launch next year.
"Rachael has played a critical role in the development and success of our downtown specific plan and has worked tirelessly to create a main street district that is truly the heartbeat of Livermore," LDI officials said in a statement.
Snedecor, who refers to the downtown Livermore business community as her family, said that she feels "overwhelming pride" when she reflects upon the work she's done with LDI.
She said that she was in her 30s when she first started and was a bit naive to some of the challenges of making change but she feels honored to have had the opportunity to contribute to downtown Livermore's evolution.
"It definitely has been lots of different players, it was never 'look what Rachael did,' it was 'look what Rachael helped do,'" Snedecor said, acknowledging that teamwork, supportive board members and healthy partnerships with the city and other stakeholders were crucial elements in getting things done.
Over the past two decades, Snedecor has helped facilitate a number of key developments in downtown Livermore, including the downtown streetscape/Highway 84 relocation, business recruitment during the downtown rebuilding years, bringing the “Service with Excellence” restaurant training program to Livermore and hosting multiple retail training programs to help businesses transition to online and social media marketing, among other initiatives.
Snedecor has also been instrumental in establishing many of the downtown annual events that have become well-known Livermore traditions, including the "Witches Night Out" moonlight shopping and dining experience, the "Earlier Than the Bird" shopping event ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday as well as culinary experiences that spotlight the diversity of Livermore's dining scene like the Taste of Downtown and Talent to Table.
After taking some time to decompress, spend time with family and travel, Snedecor said she plans to launch her own business next year called Roots Up Collective that will help businesses, nonprofits and other organizations identify specific goals and connect them with consultants and trainers to put together programs to help them achieve their goals.
Snedecor said that an important value she wants Livermore Downtown Inc. and the city as a whole to carry on after she leaves is to "keep moving forward."
"I'm excited that I get to keep watching and seeing those things that we know are in the next phase moving forward -- getting the affordable housing for the workforce into that downtown community solid, getting the new destination hotel developed and open and ready -- those are the things that are going to continue the health and vitality and you can't just let that stuff stop because then we slip back. Moving forward is really the only way to stay alive," she said.
Snedecor said that she recognizes that not everyone has agreed with her approach and that there are some who will welcome her departure.
"We know not everybody has been happy with the changes downtown that we knew were important to stay alive but I learned in the first year or two that I'm not going to make everybody happy but success is going to happen and the people that need that will be happy," she said.
She looks forward to passing the torch and seeing what the future holds for Livermore Downtown Inc. "We're in a good place now but I think it's going to be even bigger and better in the next 10 to 15 years," she said.
According to Snedecor, LDI aims to have a successor hired by the end of January to begin in the role by early February, allowing about a month for transition and training before Snedecor's last day set for Feb. 28.
The organization said in a statement that it is currently accepting applications for the position through Dec. 23 with interviews set to begin on Jan. 3. Resumes and cover letters can be sent to [email protected]