University City

UC Partners names executive director

University City Partners has selected Darlene Heater as its new executive director, replacing longtime Executive Director Mary Hopper, who stepped down unexpectedly in October.

Heater is currently vice president for Neighborhood Development for Charlotte Center City Partners, and has been with that organization since 2006.

According to a press release from University City Partners, Heater’s work with Charlotte Center City Partners has “demonstrated leadership in areas that are crucial to UCP: A vision for public transit and how transformative it will be with the proper focus and land use; a commitment to sustainability and green initiatives that are key to UCP’s future; and a passion for reaching out to constituents to develop consensus and, more importantly, to learn their vision for the type of community we all are committed to creating.”

After taking the reins on Dec. 2, Heater will start work on such University City Partner priorities as building partnerships with the area’s energy, finance and optoelectronics businesses, creating a marketing plan for University Research Park, installing way-finding and monumental signage, developing unified infrastructure design standards along the light rail line, and “creating and growing events that promote the three brand pillars of UCP (nGenious, Global and Green).”

Until Heater moves into her new role, Janelle Goodrich will continue to serve as primary contact for University City Partners. Goodrich, who worked with Hopper at the organization, will be staying on to work with Heater. Goodrich can be reached at