National Alliance of Preservation Commissions: Paige Pollard

By Special Contributor posted 10-21-2014 13:47

Credit: Paige Pollard
Paige Pollard is the new executive director for the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. Credit: Paige Pollard

By Elizabeth Byrd Wood

One month into her job, Paige Pollard, the new executive director of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC), has not only managed to move 30 years’ worth of files from NAPC’s former offices at the University of Georgia to the organization’s new office in Norfolk, Virginia, but she is also hard at work planning for the future.

Pollard brings a wealth of expertise to her new position. A former NAPC board member, she holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia and runs her own consulting firm, Commonwealth Preservation Group.

In a recent interview with Forum staff, she spoke enthusiastically about working with the NAPC board to expand the education and outreach programs of the 30-year-old organization. She notes that today’s preservation commissions are facing an ever-widening range of challenges in carrying out their duties. For instance, preservation commissions now have to grapple with the effects of rising sea levels on historic resources—a problem especially for Eastern Seaboard cities such as Norfolk. But, she adds, “Commissions across the country need to look at their current practices related the impacts of climate change.”

NAPC Window Workshop | Credit: NAPC
NAPC offers its members a variety of educational programs, such as this window workshop. | Credit: NAPC

Pollard also hopes that the NAPC can help preservation commissions with issues related to the preservation of historic resources dating from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, especially concerns about how to maintain, repair or replace the many innovative building materials used during those decades. She says, “Commissions are faced with an ever-changing array of new materials [to consider] and are on a constant learning curve.”

NAPC has approximately 950 members—both individual and organizational—and Pollard hopes to expand that membership base, especially to include more commissions in the middle of the country. The organization has an active group email list for its members and publishes a bimonthly newsletter, The Alliance Review. NAPC also hosts a biannual conference for its members, called FORUM—a week-long educational and networking event. This past year, FORUM was held in Philadelphia; in 2016, it will take place in Mobile, Alabama. NAPC’s signature training program, the Commission Assistance and Mentoring Program (CAMP), sends expert speakers to communities around the country for one-day or day-and-a-half workshops to help preservation commissions address the issues they face.

Pollard recognizes that every community has different needs and that commissions come in a variety of shapes and sizes. “NAPC serves a broad array of commissions and different localities,” she says, so she must think about how to best serve each individual commission and its members. “We try to support differing philosophies relating to the preservation of historic resources and not proscribe a particular approach.” She adds, “This interesting thing about this job is that every challenge is different. We pride ourselves on tailoring our work to the needs of specific members.”

To find out more about NAPC go to

Elizabeth Byrd Wood is senior content manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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