Homeport’s Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development Leah F. Evans has been selected to be the organization’s next President & CEO effective January 1. Homeport’s Board approved Evans on Thursday following a national search.
“Our Board of Directors is thrilled to introduce a leader of Leah’s caliber as our next President and CEO as she has such great knowledge, passion and experience in fulfilling Homeport’s mission,” said Homeport Board Chair Mark Pringle. “Leah possesses the qualifications and expertise to guide Homeport to continue to create a lasting impact on the Columbus area.”
Evans, in accepting the mantle from retiring President & CEO Bruce Luecke, said she looked forward to working with the entire staff in making a difference for the community.
“When I came to Homeport eight years ago, I wanted to do purposeful work for people. We impact people’s everyday lives. We have true and lasting impact in our communities. What we do matters,” Evans said.
Evans told staff her appointment as CEO was humbling – and that going forward the success of Homeport is built on working closely with all members of the organization.
“I am open and available to you. I want to and expect to hear from you so we can have the environment we need for each of you to be successful. That is what drives our mission.”
Homeport is entering its 35th year of business with 42 communities, 2,736 apartments and homes and almost 7,000 residents. It is the largest, locally-based and focused affordable housing provider in Central Ohio. It is also a major provider of homebuyer education, financial fitness and downpayment assistance.
Evans assumes the top job at Homeport as the non-profit organization and others like it continue to grapple with the fact 54,000 lower income families in Central Ohio currently pay at least half their income to rent. The problem is magnified by population growth projected for the next three decades and escalating real estate prices.
Before joining Homeport in 2013, Evans worked for the City of Gahanna as the Deputy Director of Planning & Development and Manager of Economic development. Prior to Gahanna, she worked for the State of Ohio and its Department of Development.
Raised in Cleveland Heights, Evans, 45, holds a Master’s degree in City & Regional Planning from The Ohio State University and a B.A. in Urban Geography from OSU.
Evans is married. She and her husband have a daughter and live in Columbus.
Besides work and family, Evans volunteers in numerous ways. She serves on the Columbus Women’s Commission, the board of the Neighborhood Design Center and the NeighborWorks America Real Estate Advisory Committee.
Incoming Homeport Board Chair Emmett Kelly praised the new CEO.
“We are so excited to have Leah Evans, who has such great knowledge, passion and experience — in fulfilling Homeport’s mission — to lead us and build upon the great work and success experienced in the last few years by Homeport and with our public and private partners in the community.”
In recognizing Evans, Board members also praised current CEO Luecke who is stepping down after six years.
“We would like to thank our outgoing CEO, Bruce Luecke, who has given Homeport outstanding leadership and accomplishment since he stepped into the role,” said Board Chair Pringle. “We on the Board and Bruce’s colleagues associated with Homeport will miss his inspiration, strategic vision and his passion.”