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PenMar executive director resigns

December 15, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

CASCADE, Md. -- PenMar Development Corp. Executive Director Rich Rook has resigned effective Jan. 16 to take a job with a consulting firm, Pen Mar officials said Monday.

For the past six years, Rook has led the Cascade-based organization responsible for overseeing the transfer of the former Fort Ritchie property from the U.S. Army to Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Columbia, Md., company that plans to develop housing, retail and office space on the property.

In late January, Rook will begin a position with Booz Allen Hamilton, a private firm based in McLean, Va., that provides consulting services for the U.S. government. He will work on military base relocation and closure, or BRAC, projects, he said.

Rook said he accepted the offer because the work of PenMar Development Corp. is winding down at the Fort Ritchie site. The final property transfer to COPT was completed in November 2007, a new community center opened on the property in September, and PenMar announced last week that it would donate $1 million to modernize Cascade Elementary School.

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"It's a pretty exciting opportunity that I have, and I feel secure that we've accomplished most of the things that we set out to do at Fort Ritchie," Rook said. "It was just perfect timing to be able to move on."

Rook said he probably will resign from his position as chairman of the board of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, as well, because of the time requirements of the new job.

The search for a new executive director for PenMar will begin immediately, chairman George G.B. Griffin said in a news release.

"Since PMDC's responsibilities at Fort Ritchie have changed in recent months, the Board will have to consider how that will affect the role of the executive director," Griffin said.

PenMar will continue to be responsible for overseeing historical preservation at the site and will have some project management roles on projects such as a museum, Rook said.

The 673 single- and multifamily homes and 1.7 million square feet of office and retail space planned for the site are the responsibility of COPT, he said.

PenMar Development Corp. was created by the state in 1997 to oversee the conversion of the former army base, which closed in 1998. Rook, hired in 2002, is its fourth executive director. He was the only PenMar employee not to join the payroll of COPT during the property transfer.

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