Raymond J. Sander was elected president of the Delaware Botanic Gardens at the March meeting of the organization’s board of directors. Susan Ryan, who led the group as president for nearly two years, passed the baton to Sander, who was serving as vice president and manager of the new garden's construction contracts.
"I am proud of our project and the accomplishments we have made over the last two years to get to this point,” said Ryan, owner of Good Earth Market and Organic Farm. “I appreciate the opportunity to have worked with so many talented people. On the eve of breaking ground, with a professional construction management team and most contracts and funds in place, this innovative project is well on its way to accomplishing the first part of its master plan in 2017.”
Sander announced that “a few of our stalwart board members have also justifiably asked to be relieved of their responsibilities. DBG says farewell to two board members who have contributed to many of our recent accomplishments. As treasurer, David Green has taken DBG from managing its finances in a checkbook to a fully automated accounting system managed by a professional accounting firm. He has overseen the CPA firm that has reviewed our financial records for two succeeding cycles.” The new president also noted that Diane Maddex, DBG’s webmaster, editor, and graphic designer, “recreated the DBG web site as an inspirational presentation of our project. Her creativity and long experience in the publishing industry have also been reflected in DBG's publications.”
At the same time, the DBG board has welcomed several new and talented leaders. Rich Weissmann was elected DBG treasurer, as an officer of the corporation. He is a retired CPA and a former corporate vice president of internal audit. Two new board members were also elected: Bob Batley and Carol McCloud. Batley is vice president of marketing and business development at Bancroft Construction Company and has wide experience in executive leadership, customer service, and strategic planning, in addition to serving on various boards and community committees. McCloud, who has a background in payroll and benefits and implementation of computer software programs, is currently president of one of the area's most successful garden clubs, the Barefoot Gardeners in Fenwick Island. She has also been one of DBG's most dedicated volunteers.
"The milestones we have achieved on Sue Ryan's watch have set a high bar, including our first major foundation grant—$750,000 from the Longwood Foundation; the recruitment of internationally and nationally renowned garden, landscape architecture, architecture, and construction experts; the completion of a master plan and a design concepts process; the implementation of professional financial and donor management systems; and the professionalization of DBG's media presence."
"It is never easy to lose members of a successful team, but this is the natural ebb and flow of nonprofit volunteer boards,” said Sander. “The garden’s accomplishments over the last two years have been the result of the board’s commitment and dedication. DBG’s challenge now is to continue to make the shared vision of a beautiful public garden into a reality."
“Please join with all of us,” said DBG’s new president, “in thanking Sue, David, and Diane for their outstanding contributions and in welcoming Rich, Bob, and Carol as they bring their talents and energy to DBG.”
Added Sheryl Swed, DBG executive director: ”We are pleased that Sue Ryan will join our Advisory Council, where she will continue to provide support and her excellent advice to the board.” The council is chaired by Carla Markell, former first lady of Delaware.
President Raymond Sander with Rich Weissmann, Bob Batley, and Carol McCloud, newly elected officials of the Delaware Botanic Gardens.