Winchester, MA Debra Hanken Kurtz became the new CEO of DuraSpace on February 16, 2015, taking the reigns from outgoing CEO Michele Kimpton. Ms. Kurtz looks forward to leading the organization in new directions while building on the solid foundation established by Ms. Kimpton. Recently Kimpton paused to reflect on key accomplishments and changes during her time at DuraSpace that will point the way toward new and evolving opportunities for the organization and the communities it serves.
When Kimpton took over in 2010 DuraSpace was a primarily grant-funded organization. Michele led the way toward the development of a sustainable business model based on community contribution, earned income and targeted grant support. Perhaps she is most proud of the fact that this collaborative and transparent business model is not only successful, but also remains true to the DuraSpace mission: “….Providing leadership and innovation in the development and deployment of open technologies that promote durable, persistent access to digital data in collaboration with academic, scientific, cultural, and technology communities toward the creation of practical solutions to help ensure that current and future generations have access to our collective digital heritage.”
Paul Courant, President, DuraSpace Board of Directors and Professor at the University of Michigan, offered this assessment of Ms Kimpton’s accomplishments: “Michele Kimpton has done an extraordinary job as DuraSpace CEO, expanding the reach of the organization, vigorously articulating the mission, and building a membership-based structure of governance and finance that will enable DuraSpace to serve the many organizations that rely on it to do their work. People sometimes ask whether it’s more important to be a leader or a manager. With Michele, we never had to ask that question: she is both, at the highest level. It has been a joy to work with her and to watch her build the organization. DuraSpace is in great shape, thanks to Michele and her team, and its prospects under Debra Hanken Kurtz’s leadership are bright.”
Under Kimpton’s leadership the thriving DuraSpace Membership Program was established with broad financial support. An associated governance structure is now in place to strengthen community planning, engagement and accountability. In 2014 $1.25 million dollars were raised to ensure that DuraSpace open source projects, DSpace, Fedora and VIVO, continue to serve the global communities that depend on them into the future. The majority of these funds were contributed by 138 DuraSpace Members, which included 39 new contributors.
Kimpton also led the development of a suite of robust cloud-based services that include DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect and ArchivesDirect. DuraSpace hosted services utilize open source technologies and are also driven by the organizational mission. Competitive pricing and high quality customer service allows institutions and organizations of any size to manage and preserve their digital materials without having to invest in infrastructure. Kimpton says, “DuraSpace is now a leader in cloud-based technologies for scholarly preservation. We are at the beginning of an exciting new period in cloud infrastructure for academic and cultural heritage organizations.”
DuraSpace members, staff, colleagues, partners and friends extend heartfelt thanks to Michele for her leadership, energy and vision, and wish her the best as she begins the next phase of her career in not-for-profit online education.