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New Leadership at Ford House
Posted: February 14, 2019
GROSSE POINTE SHORES, Mich. (Feb. 14, 2019) – The boards of trustees of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House (Ford House) in Grosse Pointe Shores and Fair Lane, Home of Clara & Henry Ford, (Fair Lane) in Dearborn have announced the appointment of new leadership. Effective immediately, Mark Heppner becomes the president and CEO of Ford House, while Bob Bury will assume the role of president and CEO of Fair Lane effective March 1.
Ford House is in the midst of a major expansion with the construction of two new buildings set to open in May 2020 – a 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art visitor center and 17,000-square-foot administration building. The project is the first new construction in 25 years and the largest since the estate was built in 1929.
Fair Lane continues the massive undertaking of restoring and reimagining Henry and Clara Ford’s family home and estate. The ongoing restoration involves fine detailed work by world class artisans and specialists as well as major upgrades to the estate’s infrastructure.
The appointments will enable the properties to focus on the landmark projects with the support of dedicated leadership. Heppner and Bury will continue to work collaboratively for both estates’ continued success.
Mark Heppner, president and CEO Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Heppner has served the historic house museums for the last seven years as vice president of historic resources and most recently, interim chief of operations over both Ford House and Fair Lane following the retirement of former president and CEO Kathleen Mullins last July. In his new role, Heppner will provide leadership and direction to Ford House as the organization looks to the launch of the new buildings and beyond, while continuing to oversee daily operations.
With nearly 30 years of experience in museums and historic sites, Heppner previously held the position of vice president of museum services division at American Alliance of Museums (AAM)-accredited Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, Ohio, before he became the executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa Salisbury House & Gardens. A native of Ohio, he earned a B.A. studying history at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and an M.A. in American history from Cleveland State University. Heppner is also a graduate from the Seminar for Historic Administration, and further built his museum expertise in the AAM-sponsored International Partnerships Among Museums exchange program, spending a month in Thailand. Heppner is a graduate of the Leadership Akron program as well as the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute and has served the community in several leadership roles, including his current tenure on the boards of the Michigan Museums Association (MMA) and MotorCities National Heritage Area. He is also an active member of Rotary. As a dedicated steward of local and state history, Heppner can be found assisting other museums and historical societies with various projects and challenges in administration, collections management, education, marketing and many other capacities. Heppner resides on a small farm in Hartland, Mich. with his wife and three children.
Bob Bury, president and CEO Fair Lane, Home of Clara & Henry Ford
After Bury stepped down from his position as executive director and CEO of the Detroit Historical Society in June, he joined the Historic Ford Estates as interim president and CEO during the transition following Mullins’ July retirement. Buoyed by Fair Lane’s monumental restoration project, Bury will begin his new role as president and CEO of Fair Lane, where he will work with the board of trustees to help steer the strategic future of the estate.
Bury brings a host of insights from his 20-year career at AT&T and most recently, his 16 years at the Historical Society, where he saw to the success of several important initiatives for the organization’s long-term sustainability. Under his leadership, the Society assumed leadership and operational responsibility of the Detroit Historical Museum, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Collections Resource Center from the City of Detroit, which had run the entities since the late 1940s. He also led a successful $21.2 million comprehensive campaign and numerous other initiatives including Detroit 67: Looking Back to Move Forward. The groundbreaking community engagement project included an exhibition, digital archive and publication. Detroit 67 was one of 10 recipients of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to libraries and museums for making significant contributions to their communities. A resident of Grosse Pointe where he lives with his wife Mary Ann, Bury is active in the community including serving on the boards of the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education, Midtown Detroit Inc. and CultureSource.
About Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores. The historic lakeside estate was the family home of Edsel Ford – Henry and Clara Ford’s only son – where he lived with his wife Eleanor and their children beginning in 1929. Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events. Ford House was named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, a prestigious honor from the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit fordhouse.org or call 313.884.4222 and connect with the Ford House on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Fair Lane, Home of Clara & Henry Ford
From 1915 to 1950, Clara and Henry Ford called Dearborn, Mich. home, staying in their beloved residence known as Fair Lane. Upon Clara’s death, Fair Lane was given to Ford Motor Co., and in 1957, Ford donated the estate and farmlands to the University of Michigan to construct the university’s Dearborn campus. In 1966, Fair Lane -- then known as Henry Ford Estate -- was among the first in the nation to receive the prestigious designation as a National Historic Landmark from the National Register of Historic Places. In June 2013, ownership of the estate transferred from the University to the Henry Ford Estate, Inc., a 501c3 corporation in the process of restoring and reimagining the property. Fair Lane is located at 1 Fair Lane Drive in Dearborn. For more information, visit henryfordfairlane.org or call 313.884.4222 and connect with Fair Lane on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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