After months of a nationwide search and interviews, the Columbia Association has selected a new leader.

Shawn MacInnes will start as the organization’s new president and CEO on June 17, according to a news release.

The Columbia Association, a massive homeowners group that in many ways functions like a city government, has been without a full-time president and CEO since Lakey Boyd’s abrupt departure 15 months ago.

Shawn MacInnes will begin his tenure as Columbia Association’s President and CEO on June 17, 2024. (Columbia Assocation)

MacInnes, who started his career as an engineer with the Maryland State Highway Administration, most recently served as town administrator of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, a coastal town of 35,000 in the southeastern part of the state. He has also run a civil engineering form and served as director of municipal operations in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, according to his LinkedIn profile. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University in Boston. He is married and has a daughter, according to the Columbia Association.

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Columbia had about 105,000 residents in 2020, according to the Census.

“I look forward to bringing my collaborative approach and passion for community service to Columbia to continue the mission of James Rouse and the entire Columbia community,” MacInnes said in a statement.

The Columbia Association’s board of directors worked with the recruitment firm TransPro Executive Placement to find candidates for the position. The board, factoring in feedback from the association’s senior leadership team, selected and interviewed finalists last month.

Monica McMellon-Ajayi, the association’s director of human resources, equity and inclusion, said in a statement: “We are confident that his [MacInnes’] experience and perspective will provide a meaningful path forward for CA. We also appreciate the time and effort of all of those involved in the process to ensure that CA remains a valued partner, employer and leader in this community.”

Boyd, the former CEO, left amid tensions with the association’s board of directors, which she suspected was seeking to oust her. Boyd resigned in January 2023, less than two years into the job. During her short tenure, Boyd focused on equity, diversity and inclusion and made it a priority to forge connections with those who had felt disconnected from the Columbia Association.

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Many Columbia residents, CA employees and local leaders voiced support for Boyd, with nearly 1,000 people signing an online petition opposing her departure.

Dennis Mattey, who served as interim president and CEO, will serve until MacInnes’ tenure begins. Part of the Columbia Association for 50 years, Mattey most recently served as the vice president of community operations.

“It has been a true honor to be part of this organization,” Mattey said in a statement. “My entire career has been in service to the Columbia community, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Board Chair Eric Greenberg, in a statement, thanked Mattey for “stepping up” over the past year and welcomed MacInnes.

“The Board of Directors welcomes Mr. MacInnes to Columbia and looks forward to working with him in service to the community,” Greenberg said.

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While the board hires the new leader, they themselves are elected volunteers. There are 10 seats on the board, representing each of Columbia’s neighborhood villages. All but three have elections on April 20.

The three villages without seats up for reelection are Dorsey’s Search, Kings Contrivance and Long Reach.

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