Richard V. Piacentini has held the position of executive director of The Phipps Botanical Gardens and Conservatory since 1994. Providing leadership for one of the oldest conservatories in North America, he has been instrumental in improving the Conservatory's collections, educational programs, and overall services to the public. During his tenure, he created and launched the most ambitious expansion project in Phipps history. The $36.6 million dollar expansion includes an environmentally-conscious Welcome Center with improved visitor amenities which opened in March 2005; state-of-the-art Production Greenhouses which open in January 2006; and the 12,000-square-foot Tropical Forest Conservatory complete with indoor waterfalls, canopy walks, and exotic plant material, slated to open Fall 2006.

Before Richard arrived in Pittsburgh, he was the executive director of the Leila Arboretum Society in Battle Creek, Michigan where he was responsible for the management of the 87-acre Arboretum. From 1984 to 1991, he was the executive director of the Rhododendron Species Foundation in Washington State.

He is past president and treasurer of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) and continues to play a major role as an active board member. He is a recipient of one of the APGA's highest awards, the Professional Citation, and a Leadership award from the Green Building Alliance. He serves as a board member of the World Water Center, and serves on the Executive Committee for WOW, a collaborative of six public gardens to develop traveling exhibitions nationwide. Richard is the author of The Plant Collections Directory for Canada and the United States for the 1994 and 1996 editions, and is a current research associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He is also a member of Leadership Pittsburgh. Previously, Richard has served as a judge for several national flower shows and assisted in the development of the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.

Richard received his master's degree in botany from the University of Connecticut and an MBA in business administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds a bachelor's degree in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island and is a licensed pharmacist in the District of Columbia.

Richard resides in Pittsburgh with his wife and two children.

web: www.phipps.conservatory.org

 
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