Katie Laning Niebaum has been appointed executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association and its educational affiliate the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation, board chairs Gary McChesney and Elizabeth Hood announced Friday.
Niebaum will succeed Steve Patterson, the founding executive director, who will retire later this year. He helped form both organizations in 2011 and has served as executive director for the first five years of their development.
Niebaum, a Little Rock native, leaves her position as vice president for communications for the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C. to take the helm at AAEA and AAEF beginning Oct. 3.
Patterson will remain in a full-time capacity through Oct. 31 before taking on a smaller advisory role through next year.
"We are grateful for Steve's leadership and commitment to the growth of advanced energy in Arkansas and we respect his decision to retire," 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 brings more than five years of experience at one of the nation's largest business trade associations, the last two of which she worked as vice president of communications and media relations. During her tenure representing the $780 billion restaurant and food service industry she helped advance policy and business goals for the industry.
This will technically be Patterson's second retirement. He retired from government in 2006 after serving as chief of staff for members of Congress, including former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, for 26 years.
In 2007, he opened CDP Strategies LLC, a strategic and event planning consulting company and in 2011 worked with Policy Director Ken Smith and others to form the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association and its educational affiliate, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation.