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New CEO Plans to Build Off Habitat for Humanity’s Solid Foundation

Jon Peterson will take over July 1 for Joyce McCullough, who is retiring after leading the organization for more than a decade

Jon Peterson will take over as CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, effective July 1. “My hopes are that we just keep growing and continue to serve more families by expanding our new construction,” he says.

Jon Peterson will take over as CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County, effective July 1. “My hopes are that we just keep growing and continue to serve more families by expanding our new construction,” he says.  (Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County will see a new leader at the helm this summer after its leader for the past decade announced her retirement this week.

Executive Director Joyce McCullough has been with the organization for nearly 11 years and announced that she will retire in June. The organization's board selected Associate Executive Director Jon Peterson to fill her shoes.

Peterson will begin as CEO effective July 1.

“My time with Habitat has been a joy and source of much pride,” McCullough said in a statement sent out this week. “I am grateful for the leadership of an outstanding board of directors that has supported me in my tenure and now in the transition process as I plan my retirement. I am confident that under the leadership of Jon Peterson and our board that Habitat will continue to be successful in our community and give more local families the opportunity to be first-time homeowners.”

Peterson has been involved with operations of Habitat’s construction projects, home repair projects as part of the A Brush with Kindness program and the human resources and finance departments, the organization said.

The group has had success under McCullough's leadership by completing two major construction projects in Santa Barbara, one on Via Lucero and another on San Pascual Street.

Peterson said he's looking forward to helping the group accomplish more housing projects in the future. He spoke with Noozhawk on Thursday about his background and where he wants to take the organization.

He's a Santa Barbara native and a graduate from Santa Barbara High School

He moved to Chicago to attend North Park University and began working in corporate accounting and real estate.

Peterson and his wife lived in that area for 10 years, and during that time, he began working with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate there.

He eventually found out a director of finance position opening up with Habitat's Southern Santa Barbara County group and moved back to the area in 2009.

He said he doesn't see a shift in direction from McCullough's past work.

"We're really just building off of that," he said. "My hopes are that we just keep growing and continue to serve more families by expanding our new construction."

The organization has two upcoming projects in the work, one in Carpinteria and one slated for Cota Street near Santa Barbara Junior High.

While those projects work their way through the design and permitting process, Peterson said they'll be expanding the Brush with Kindness program that works to help qualifying homeowners improve the exteriors of their homes.

In May, the group is planning to do some painting and landscaping projects in University Mobile Home.

He also said he hopes to increase awareness of the ReStore, located at 6860 Cortona Drive in Goleta, where discounted home-improvement supplies, building materials, and more are for sale to the public.

Peterson said he also hopes to expand Habitat's donor base to reach more people about smaller monthly giving.

The group is also moving closer to the completion of 12 homes on Canon Perdido, and is working to raise about $750,000 needed to finish that project.

"I'm just excited to be able to lead this mission and serve families in the community that I love and grew up in," he said. "I think there's a definite need, and I hope to continue Joyce's legacy."

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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