Andrew Thomas selected to return as CEO of Downtown Santa Monica Inc

Thomas will head a public-private non-profit association

By Sam Catanzaro

The Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM) Board of Directors has selected Andrew Thomas to return as CEO. Thomas, who for the past decade has led the Westwood Village Improvement Association, will take the helm as downtown Santa Monica faces a series of issues, including high vacancy rates and public safety concerns.

Thomas replaces outgoing CEO Kathleen Rawson. He will now lead the public-private nonprofit, which works in conjunction with the City of Santa Monica to manage services and operations in downtown Santa Monica and the Third Street Promenade. Thomas will take the helm as vacant storefronts and public safety concerns trouble the area.

Andrew Thomas. Photo: DTSM, Inc.

“The Board of Directors is delighted to welcome back Andrew Thomas, whose wealth of experience in the venue-making industry and deep understanding of Santa Monica’s core values ​​will enable him to make an immediate impact. on DTSM,” said Barry Snell, chairman of DTSM’s board of directors. of administrators. “We hope Thomas will assist the Board as it undertakes a thorough reassessment of the organization’s programs so that we can continue to better serve our community, landowners and businesses.

Thomas brings over 20 years of experience to this role, including serving as Director of Operations for DTSM from 2001 to 2010 when it was known as Bayside District.

In selecting Thomas, the board said it was “confident to have found a progressive, transformative and coalition-building leader to serve as its next CEO and solidify DTSM’s position as one of the districts of most renowned business improvement in the industry”.

As CEO, Thomas will now have to deal with the many challenges facing the region, including a boardwalk plagued by vacancies and public safety issues driven in large part by the homelessness crisis.

“It’s an exciting time to be a professional in creating urban spaces, as our expertise and leadership have never been more needed given the challenges our traditional urban partners face,” said Thomas. “Downtown Santa Monica, and in particular the Third Street Promenade, remains an economically vibrant, welcoming, diverse and innovative neighborhood with so much to offer. I am confident that with the support of the DTSM Board, the city and our many stakeholders, we can achieve great things and continue to be the envy of other cities around the world.

Prior to returning to DTSM, Thomas was the Founding Executive Director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association (WVIA) for the past 11 years, carrying out the non-profit organization’s mission to keep Westwood Village a clean and safe place. through maintenance, security and programming. Thomas managed a budget of $1.7 million per year from appraisals of 120 properties in the district. Thomas is also past president of the California Downtown Association and past president of the Los Angeles Business Improvement District Consortium. He graduated from Tulane University.

Thomas’ appointment comes just after the Santa Monica City Council named three new DTSM board members who are a departure from the status quo. All three – Leonid Pustilnikov, Luke M. Cain and Lucian Tudor – are members of the Santa Monica Bayside Owners Association (SMBOA). The association has been a vocal opponent of many city policies, including leading an unsuccessful effort to stop the demotion of Parking Structure 3.

David H. Henry