By Ryan Cornell
The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation announced Keven M. Walker as its new CEO on Tuesday.
Walker, whose first day in the position was on Tuesday, spent much of it meeting with foundation staff and being briefed on current preservation projects.
"I am unbelievably excited to be working with this staff," he said during a phone interview on Tuesday. "They're a talented group of people and there's no better place to be working on behalf of preservation than in the Shenandoah Valley. The opportunity to be working here is just a dream come true."
The valley, he explained, is near and dear to his family's heart. Walker currently lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia, with his wife, Amber, and their three children. He said his wife is from Winchester, and her family has lived in the Shenandoah Valley for "a couple hundred years."
Walker, 37, comes to the position with 11 years of experience as a cultural resources program manager and historian at Antietam National Battlefield, where he was responsible for preserving and restoring the park's historic structures and landscape.
He said he brings his strengths as a team builder as well as an extreme passion and enthusiasm for preserving the past.
Walker will inherit a variety of projects and events from previous CEO W. Denman Zirkle, including the campaign for Third Winchester battlefield restoration and interpretation project, the renovation of the Lee-Jackson Building in New Market and sesquicentennial commemorations honoring the battles of Third Winchester and Cedar Creek this fall.
"It's pretty amazing when I stop to think about it," he said. "They say that life is what happens to you when you're planning other things. It seems like all of my life has prepared me for this position."
A release from the foundation stated that Walker was selected from a field of 35 candidates.
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org