Davis Downtown Names Dirk Brazil as Interim Executive Director

Dirk Brazil – courtesy photo

Special to the Vanguard

Davis, CA – Former Davis City Manager Dirk Brazil was been named interim executive director of the Davis Downtown Business Association, effective Monday, February 12.

He replaces Brett Maresca, who stepped down from the role on Jan. 26 to pursue other opportunities.

Brazil served as Davis city manager from 2014 to 2017, and as Yolo County assistant county administrator from 2006 to 2014. After retiring in 2017, Brazil worked as interim city manager for the cities of South Lake Tahoe and Alameda, and as the interim executive director of the Yolo Habitat Conservancy.

“I’m looking forward to working with the DDBA board and their membership in the next few months to first, help them in their search for a new executive director, and second, to look into how best to possibly restructure DDBA into a more focused and effective organization,” Brazil said. “I’ll also seek collaboration opportunities with City of Davis elected officials and city staff, as well as UC Davis administration. There is a great deal of potential in these partnerships.”

Maresca began as executive director in March 2020, just before the COVID-19 shutdown. In a Jan. 11 announcement to DDBA members, Maresca said, “I have enjoyed working closely with our partners, collaborating with … local groups and nonprofit organizations, and meeting countless members of our community during my tenure. While it is time for somebody else to carry the torch in leading this organization, I am confident that I have helped establish a sound structure that will lead to a successful transition.”

Kevin Wan, president of the Davis Downtown board of directors, thanked Maresca for his service, noting the extraordinary difficulties the pandemic created. “Brett helped restore an organization in turmoil, spearheaded the downtown Davis side of Healthy Davis Together, and set up DDBA for future success by modernizing our digital platforms, membership outreach, and e-gift card program. We thank him for a successful four years with us, and can’t wait to see the great things he does next.”

Wan said the board was thrilled to hire an interim executive director who understood the organization, which represents businesses in the city’s core area.

“We were looking for someone with Davis roots who was passionate about our downtown. I’ve known Dirk since his days at City Hall, and his love of downtown was always evident whenever we crossed paths,” said Wan, owner of Sophia’s Thai Kitchen. “He always advocated for the downtown when he was city manager. He knows DDBA and what we do, and can help tremendously in bringing on a permanent staff to continue our mission in promoting the downtown.”

Brazil has strong ties to the community. He and his wife, Nora, have lived in Davis for 25 years. She is a school librarian and mentor teacher at Marguerite Montgomery Elementary in Davis. He also hosts a Monday evening show on the community radio station KDRT (95.7 FM) called “It’s a Twang Thang.”

Davis Downtown leads and energizes the downtown as the primary business, entertainment and cultural center of Davis. Alive with activity seven days a week, downtown Davis draws locals and visitors alike to experience fine food and beverages, retail, professional services, arts and entertainment in an extraordinary and sustainable gathering place.

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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