Steve Patterson, founding executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) and its educational affiliate Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF), will retire on Oct. 31.
Little Rock-native Katie Laning Niebaum has been appointed to succeed him, board Chairs Gary McChesney (AAEA) and Dr. Elizabeth Hood (AAEF) announced last week.
“We are grateful for Steve’s leadership and commitment to the growth of advanced energy in Arkansas and we respect his decision to retire,” Board Chairs McChesney and Hood said in a joint statement. “Katie brings a dynamic record of innovation and achievement and we look forward to working with her as both of our organizations enter into the next phase of development.”
Niebaum, who begins her new position on Oct. 3, will leave her role as vice president of communications for the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C. to take the helm at AAEA and AAEF. Patterson will remain in a full-time capacity through the end of October before taking on a smaller advisory role through next year.
Patterson helped form both organizations in 2011 and has served as executive director for the first five years of their development. Niebaum led communications and media relations strategies and helped advance policy and business goals for the $780 billion restaurant and food service industry. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Niebaum was born and raised in Little Rock where she graduated from Central High School.