Downtown Durham Inc

DOWNTOWN DURHAM, INC

Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) is a 501(c) 6 organization, formed in 1993 to serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. Learn more about this small, but mighty, organization.

Mission

To enhance the environment, economy and vitality of downtown Durham, while preserving and enriching its distinctive culture and strong sense of community.

Vision

Downtown is the diverse, unique and thriving heart of Durham, and is welcoming to all.

IMpact

Through these initiatives, DDI works to build a clean, safe, welcoming and vibrant downtown community where residents, merchants, businesses, and visitors can thrive.

About DDI

Our History

Downtown Durham, Inc. (DDI) is a 501(c) 6 organization, formed in 1993 to serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. With almost $2 billion invested over the past 20 years, downtown is now a thriving climate able to support additional business, retail and housing growth. Since 1993 Downtown has grown from just 160 residents to more than 4,500, added more than 300 new businesses, increased its annual visitors by more than 1 million and added more than 2 million square feet of new office space In 2012, DDI became the entity responsible for the downtown Durham Business Improvement District, a .8 mile area where property owners are assessed a small additional tax to create a cleaner, safer and more vibrant downtown community. The tax is used by the BID to fund the Ambassadors program, which provides maintenance services that supplement those offered by the city, as well as to develop and fund district-wide placemaking and marketing initiatives that support businesses located in the district.

Diversity Statement

We Believe

  • Diversity is the foundation of Durham’s vitality and creativity.
  • Downtown is the heart of Durham. It is welcoming to everyone and must reflect and honor Durham’s diversity.
  • Diversity includes shared success in the form of access to ownership of businesses and property in downtown and adjacent corridors.
People

Our Team

Nicole J. Thompson

President & CEO
Nicole began her career in economic development while working for the Institute of Minority Economic Development in downtown Durham in the early 90s. Since then, she has worked in economic and community development on the state government, local government and nonprofit/community levels in North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. She has experience in leading economic development efforts and growth in both rural and urban areas. Prior to coming to Durham, Nicole spent four years in Colorado, where she was the Executive Director of the Leadville-Lake County Economic Development Corporation. While in this position, she worked tirelessly to advocate for responsible and strategic economic growth and development in Lake County. Nicole graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Urban Studies and received a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tiffany Bashore

Director of Business Engagement
Tiffany is the primary contact for new, existing and potential street-level retail, restaurant and service businesses in the downtown area. Her most recent position was as Director of Member Relations at the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, where she played a pivotal role in member retention and engagement through personal outreach, events and programming to serve both members and community partners. She brings her extensive experience working with businesses, her knowledge of the community and her love of Durham to this critical position in our organization. She has 19+ years of community and business engagement experience and is well-known and beloved in the Durham community as a key player, organizer and advocate for local businesses. Tiffany has deep roots in the Triangle. She is a graduate of Jordan High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Anna Branly

Director of Administration & Finance
Anna oversees internal operations, Human Resources and accounting for the organization. She has spent her career in marketing, public relations, and small business management. While with a regional marketing firm, Anna supervised agency operations, including staffing, financials and client accounts, and she negotiated client media buys. She transitioned to the client side with a Durham-based real estate development company, where she was responsible for internal and external communications, government relations, event planning, media relations and branding. Most recently, Anna owned and oversaw the day-to-day operations for a specialty retail bakery in downtown Durham’s Five Points area. Anna graduated from Elon College (now Elon University) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications.

Cheyenne Hines

Marketing & Communication Manager
Cheyenne Hines, a Georgia native turned Durhamite, works as DDI’s Marketing & Communication Manager. In this role, she works to create marketing campaigns, publications, social media content, and more to build on the ever-growing downtown Durham community. She also created and leads the Downtown Durham Social Media Ambassador Program. Prior to DDI, Cheyenne worked in news for two years at a local station in Macon, Ga. There, she worked as Executive Producer, leading teams to bring the community the latest and greatest each day. Cheyenne graduated from Mercer University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and economics before moving to Durham in 2023.

Roger Montelongo

Director of Creative Activation
Roger serves as Downtown Durham, Inc’s Director of Creative Activation. He leads DDI's efforts to cultivate vibrant public spaces that foster connections and amplify Durham's unique character. Whether it's through interactive art installations, vibrant streetscapes, or lively community events, his work is guided by a passion for creating spaces that truly serve the community. Roger's strategic vision draws on his experience in urban design and planning, ensuring projects boost downtown's vibrancy and economic impact. Roger holds a Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning and Business Administration from Texas State University and a Master's Degree in Urban Design & City Planning from University College London.

Erik Nystrom

Clean & Safe Operations Manager
Erik is the face of the Clean & Safe Ambassador Program for DDI. Since 2015, Erik has been the Ambassador Operations Manager, responsible for a team of ten full-time Ambassadors. Erik has spent his career in natural resource management, landscaping and hospitality. After several years of managing operations in the landscape maintenance and design field, he transitioned to the hospitality industry, where he managed a platinum golf club, overseeing both landscaping and food and beverage operations. Immediately prior to joining DDI, Erik managed food and beverage operations and guest services for a large conference center. Erik graduated from The Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Ecology and Natural History.

Gina Rozier

Director of Marketing, Communication & Placekeeping
As the Director of Marketing, Communication & Placekeeping, Gina's most important role is telling the compelling story of downtown's businesses, organizations, residents and visitors in order to build on the success of this thriving and uniquely Durham community. Gina is responsible for branding, marketing, internal and external communications. She also leads the planning for many of the organization's major events. Gina has spent her career working with nonprofit and governmental organizations, which has allowed her to follow her passion of serving and educating communities. In her most recent positions prior to joining Downtown Durham, Inc., she led marketing and communications teams at the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Computer Science and Durham County Library. Gina graduated from Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, and from North Carolina Central University with a Master of Library Science degree.

Kenny Valenzuela

Director of Clean & Safe
Kenny is the Director of Clean & Safe for DDI. In this role, he ensures a welcoming and positive experience for the visitors, businesses and residents of downtown Durham. Prior to joining DDI, Kenny spent his career in tourism and hospitality. Most recently he managed multiple convention centers, where he was responsible for contract negotiations, sales, marketing, event planning and finance. He is passionate about serving and creating memorable experiences for the downtown Durham community. Kenny moved to Durham in 2019 from New Mexico, where he studied Education at New Mexico State University.

Heather Wilson

Durham Choice Neighborhood Program Manager
Heather serves as DDI's Downtown Durham Neighborhood Program Manager, leading the 'Neighborhood' strategy for the HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative. The Miami native joined the Durham community in 2021, bringing more than a decade of nonprofit expertise, including the management of projects that bridged the gap between community needs and corporate responsibility. Notably, she played a pivotal role in the development of North Carolina's first Black-owned birth and wellness center, 'Aya Birth and Community Wellness.' She also steered Chapman Partnership's Social Enterprise Academy – an initiative, designed to provide specialized learning for un-housed populations. Heather graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor's in Political Science and Criminal Justice, with a minor in Sociology. She also received her MBA from Florida International University in 2017.
Board of

Directors

Tucket Bartlett

Self-Help Credit Union

Dorian Bolden

Beyu Caffé

Rebecca Bolton

Durham Convention Center

Jennings Brody

Parker and Otis

Amos Cooper

Black Robin Ventures

Cecelia H. de Davis

Cecy's Gallery

Jeff Furman

Northwood Ravin

Gary Garber

Big Red Cedar Consulting

Adrian Gonzalez

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Carey Greene

SVN | Real Estate Associates

Zena Howard

Board Chair, Perkins & Will

Brenda A. Howerton

Durham County Board of Commissioners

Akua Johnson Matherson

North Carolina Central University

Nish LeBlanc

Lennox and Grae

Angela Lee

Hayti Heritage Center

Shelley McPhatter

BridgePoint

Mark-Anthony Middleton

Durham City Council

Jeff Paine

Duda Paine Architects

Tyler Parsons

Durham Bulls Baseball

Kevin Price

The Institute

Travis Rouse

M&F Bank

Justin Sacco

LRC Properties

Lynn Solomon

Resident

Craig Spitzer

The Durham Hotel

Fasil Tesfaye

Goorsha

Iona Thomas

McAdams

Lucy Wert

Pairwise

Yvette West

Resident

Contact Us

DDI Office Location

307 W. Main St. Suite 102
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-682-2800
info@downtowndurham.com

Tell Us About It

What’s great about downtown Durham, and what could be better?
Your thoughts are always welcome.

Media

Find press releases, President & CEO bio, media contacts and more.

Work With Us

Careers

Downtown Durham, Inc. is currently hiring. Find the job descriptions and application information at our Careers at DDI page.

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