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Atchison will begin her new job in early January and replaces Joe Frank, who is retiring Dec. 31 after 35 years with the city, largely as a long-range planner.
Frank served as the first director of the Social Sustainability department within the Sustainability Services Area – a new division created in 2012 under the vision of City Manager Darin Atteberry and Chief Sustainability Officer Bruce Hendee.
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Frank has spent most of his career with the city as a planner and director of Advance Planning. He has been recognized on the local, state and national level for his efforts in growth management, community planning, historic preservation, and affordable housing. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
“Joe has done a tremendous job getting the department up and running, and assisting the community with always considering human needs in our triple-bottom line approach to sustainability,” Hendee said in a press statement. “I’m thrilled that Mary, who has contributed greatly to the human health of Fort Collins, will grow those efforts and move the city forward.”
Atchison comes to the city from Kaiser Permanente, where she has served as a community relations specialist for the past year. She was executive director of Executives Partnering to Invest in Children from 2010 to 2012 and senior vice president for community investment for United Way of Larimer County from 2005 to 2010, where she led the development of Pathways Past Poverty and a $1 million grant application process. She also served as director of the local 2-1-1 system for 10 years and as executive director of FirstCall.
She led the development of WomenGive, a local philanthropic program designed to assist single parents with child care while they’re in school. She also served as co-chair of the 2010 Keep Fort Collins Great Campaign and on the boards of directors of Beet Street, the Larimer County Extension Advisory Board and the Poudre River Public Library District among others.
Atchison is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Northern Colorado, a program offered in part by the Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley chambers of commerce, and chaired the City’s Transportation Advisory Board. She has a master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University and is a licensed marriage and family therapist.