Executive Director, Robert Birman, presents artist George Cables with the Centrum Champion award
JEFFERSON COUNTY CHAMBER NAMES CENTRUM EXECUTIVE BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR
Presented to an individual who demonstrates a history of vision, service and leadership for the betterment of the Jefferson County Community. This individual has built a legacy of developing other leaders along the way. They have established a reputation of character, trust and leadership for others to emulate.
Robert Birman is in his tenth year as chief executive of Centrum, one of the largest multi-disciplinary arts organizations in the state of Washington. Prior to relocating to Port Townsend, he managed symphony orchestras for 25 years from Boston to Santa Barbara, San Francisco to Louisville, and parts in between. As administrative leader of Centrum, Rob has led signiﬁcant change and expanded the organization’s strategic and programming partnerships. Since 2013, Centrum has added 12 new program weeks, eliminated $400,000 in debt, remained proﬁtable for each of the last six years, and enjoyed a 50% increase in workshop revenues from 2012 to 2019 (last full year of programming).
Centrum doubled its annual individual giving (dollars) since 2012 and has built a cash reserve of three-months of operating capital. Rob has helped increase Centrum’s endowment fund nearly 600% and added $1 million in capital purchases (all fully-funded), including a ﬁve-vehicle van ﬂeet, new concert staging, LED lighting in its theaters that yield a 90% reduction in energy consumption, and—most recently—the creation of a year-round broadcast ability that will integrate online learning as a permanent part of what Centrum offers.
Centrum serves artists from age 4 to 98 from 17 countries, all 50 states, and 77% of the counties in Washington. 79% of the charity’s contributed revenue comes from outside of Jefferson County.
Birman credits the organization’s success, in large measure, to its 49-year legacy serving Jefferson County, the fact that Centrum never compromises on artistic excellence, and that—for 49 years—our community has made the arts a core characteristic of its civic identity. A regional board of 20 members, staff of twenty-two, 200 volunteers, and more than 10,000 supporters (workshop participants, ticket buyers, and donors) helps propel Centrum into its 50th year, starting in 2023.
BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
Rob Birman, Centrum; Steve Goldenbogen, Whistlestop Toys; and Nancy Karam, Korean Women’s Association