Bethesda Urban Partnership Names New Director

Bethesda Urban Partnership Names New Director

Jeff Burton has been acting executive director since June

| Published:
Jeff Burton resized

Jeff Burton

Jennifer Morris Photography

The Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP), a nonprofit downtown management group, announced Wednesday morning that Jeff Burton is its new executive director.

Burton became acting executive director in June after former Executive Director Rick Ammirato announced in May that he was stepping down from the organization after three years.

Ammirato did not give a reason or say where he was going. Ammirato’s contract with BUP ended in August, but he took the final few months as leave.

Board members met in closed session at the end of their monthly meeting Tuesday. Following the meeting, the board declined to answer questions about the executive director search. Board members also did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment.

Burton’s selection was made by the organization’s 11-member board of directors.

“Jeff has done an excellent job during his tenure with the Bethesda Urban Partnership. He is a dedicated and longstanding employee with a vision for the future,” BUP Board Chair Deborah Michaels said in a press release. “We are excited for the next chapter of our organization, the future of downtown Bethesda and the continued success of our community under Jeff’s leadership.”

Burton said he found out the news from the board Wednesday morning and is “humbled and extremely excited.”

He said he hasn’t scoped out his vision yet for the organization because it is a “work in progress” with the board and the organization’s full-time staff.

“I’ll be working with the community and the board and the organization to set the strategic goals for the organization,” he said.

Burton said he has worked for BUP for 22 years and was one of the first four employees the organization hired. His tenure with the organization has included jobs as landscape supervisor, director of field operations and deputy executive director.

He said his previous experience with the organization is an asset as he enters his new role.

“Most importantly, it’s the relationships that I’ve built with the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Bethesda operates like a small town, and relationships are key to everything we do, so I think that’s the most important thing I’ve learned and established,” he said.

The urban partnership was formed in 1994 and handles activities downtown such as management of the Bethesda Circulator shuttle bus, commuter and transportation programs, trash collection and street landscaping work.

BUP receives most of its funding from the county government, which collects money from parking fees within a specific taxing district. Additionally, properties within the district must pay a special tax that funds BUP.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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