CEDAR RAPIDS — A construction management professional has been named to lead the Veterans Memorial Commission, which oversees veterans memorial facilities in Cedar Rapids, according to a Friday news release from the commission and the city of Cedar Rapids.
Paul Pestel, a project manager for Ryan Companies, is slated to begin his role as facilities director on June 25.
“I am eager to get to work with the Veterans Memorial Commission to establish and implement their vision and goals,” Pestel said in a news release. “The building is a unique landmark for veterans and the city of Cedar Rapids.”
The seven-member commission, which is appointed by the Cedar Rapids mayor, is responsible for the management, development, operations and maintenance of the Veterans Memorial Building, Veterans Memorial Stadium — home to the Cedar Rapids Kernels — and the All Veterans Memorial Park.
He will be expected to guide “financial strategies and capital improvement projects” and help “foster the positive and fruitful association with the area veterans’ community and groups by directing the effective delivery of services, programed events, and gallery exhibitions,” according to the news release.
Veterans Memorial Commission Chairwoman Kristin Delfs credited Pestel’s “superior knowledge” of the requirements of historic preservation as a key tool as he works to get the facilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
“As with the rest of the city — the Veterans Memorial Building is challenged to become fully compliant,” she said in the release. “Paul’s superior knowledge of the requirements coupled with a historic preservation passion for the building shall prove to the community that he is an adaptable leader — even among challenging environments.”
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Pestel helped restore the Veterans Memorial Building after the flood of 2008, Commissioner Gary Grant said.
“We are excited to have someone who knows the building so well to be the next caretaker of this incredible community asset,” Grant stated in the release.
Pestel’s hiring comes seven months after the previous director, Mike Jager, was fired for “insubordination, unavailability for work, poor work performance, failure to follow required policies and procedures, poor behavior and neglect of duty,” according to the commission.
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