Jeff McCord becomes our new executive director!

July 1st, 2017

West Seattle preservationist and nonprofit leader begins work July 1;
the public can welcome him at Annual Picnic on Tuesday, July 4

Our board has selected as our organization’s next executive director Jeff McCord, a 24-year resident of West Seattle who has helped save more than 100 historic homes in the Seattle area, served on several community boards and led the revival of a struggling nonprofit.

Jeff McCord (left), incoming executive director, and Clay Eals, departing executive director. (Photo by Bill Wright,

McCord will succeed our historical society’s first executive director, Clay Eals, who resigned in April and has worked four-and-a-half years in the position.

The selection comes after an extensive search and interviewing process by our board’s Personnel Committee, chaired by vice-president Peder Nelson, as well as by the full board.

“We are delighted to bring Jeff aboard,” says Karen Sisson, board president, “and we are excited about the varied skills, long experience and deep passion that he will bring us.”

The start date for McCord, 54, is Saturday, July 1, 2017. Our board plans to retain Eals for the month of July to provide an overlap during which Eals can orient McCord and introduce him to our historical society’s key supporters and partners.

The public will have its first chance to welcome McCord to the executive director’s position at our historical society’s Annual Picnic, slated from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, 2017, in the courtyard of our “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum.

(The picnic also will feature an opportunity for remembrances of the late Merrilee Hagen, former board president who sparked acquisition of our museum building in the mid-1990s, plus live music courtesy of the West Seattle Community Orchestras’ Brass Sextet. For the picnic, the public is invited. Our board provides basic foods, and others are invited to provide extras.)

McCord will begin work as executive director for our historical society while he transitions away from the executive director’s post at the TV cable-access nonprofit Puget Sound Access/Carco Theatre in Renton. That organization hired McCord two and a half years ago in an effort to restore internal infrastructure and stability.

On the Duwamish peninsula, McCord is perhaps best known as “home rescuer” for Nickel Bros, a company that preserves homes from razing through creative redevelopment or by finding new owners and moving the homes to new locations.

One house that he preserved in place was the home overlooking Lincoln Park in which the REI firm was founded. More recently, he facilitated preservation of the 1908 log home at California Avenue and Findlay Street that is to be moved to the Admiral area this summer.

A resident of Gatewood Hill, McCord also has served as chair of the Southwest Design Review Board and has been involved with the West Seattle Anti-Crime Council and what is now called the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. In addition, he has worked as a graphic design teacher, as a consultant in Kickstarter fundraising and graphic design and as a producer of video games.

A graduate of the Evergreen State College, with a bachelor of arts degree in media arts, McCord is a current student of the University of Washington Evans School of Governance & Public Policy, from which he expects to receive a master’s degree in public administration in 2018.

McCord says it is his “dream opportunity” to become executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

“Historic preservation has been a very important part of my adult life, having grown up among tall trees and beautiful old buildings in Lexington, Kentucky, only two blocks from Ashland, home of the great American statesman Henry Clay,” he says. “This job perfectly blends my love of historic architecture, cultural histories and locally focused volunteer causes. I’ve watched as the historical society has continued to grow in its offerings, becoming a strong and vibrant voice within — and on behalf of — the Duwamish Peninsula. I am both proud and humbled to be given the chance to build on the organization’s many successes.”

One of his direct connections to our historical society is that his wife, Rosemary Woods, designed the logo for our organization’s museum 20 years ago. Her drawing of the building is still used in our organization’s logo today.

McCord looks forward to orienting himself to our historical society’s wide slate of events and activities and to building relationships with our donors, sponsors and volunteers and the public.

Primary responsibilities of the position are fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff supervision and overall management. In addition to the position of executive director, our historical society has two paid part-time staff positions of curator and museum operations coordinator.

McCord’s hours at the Log House Museum will be variable. He can be reached by phone at 206-234-4357 (cell), and his e-mail address will be