Kerry Tymchuk

The Oregon Historical Society today named Kerry Tymchuk its interim executive director.

Tymchuk is the consummate political insider, have served as a longtime top aide to former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and ghost-written books for Smith and other powerful Oregonians. Most recently, Tymchuk worked for CFM, a local lobbying and public relations firm. And he played a major behind-the-scenes role in shaping Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley’s unsuccesful campaign this year.

Here’s the statement announcing Tymchuk’s appointment from the Historical Society, which in November got voter approval for a $10 million infusion from Multnomah County taxpayers:

Oregon Historical Society Board Chairman, Jerry Hudson announced today that Kerry Tymchuk will be the Society’s Interim Executive Director at the retirement of Dr. George Vogt in April of 2011. After leading the successful effort to pass Measure 26-118 and leave the Oregon Historical Society on secure footing, Dr. George Vogt, 67, announced his retirement last week at an Executive Committee meeting of the Oregon Historical Society Board.

Immediate plans have been made to implement a smooth transition which will put OHS board member, Kerry Tymchuk and George Vogt working side by side until late April when Mr. Tymchuk will take over leadership and Dr. Vogt will fully retire. Mr. Tymchuk will be Interim Executive Director while the Board of Directors crafts a new strategic plan and decides on and implements a search process for the next Executive Director. Plans are to complete the plan and executive search in 2011.

According to Dr. Hudson, “OHS is now at the beginning of a new era in which we will define a long-term sustainable future for this key institution. A five year strategic plan is now in the making and this is the right time to engage a leadership team to help create the plan and build on the momentum created by the passage of the levy. Kerry Tymchuk is the right person at the right time to facilitate this process.”

The great, great, grandson of Oregon pioneers, Kerry Tymchuk is a native Oregonian who earned both his BA degree in History and J.D. at Willamette University. Mr. Tymchuk has a distinguished public service career, which included working as a top aide and advisor to Elizabeth Dole, Bob Dole and Gordon Smith. He has assisted the Doles in the writing of four books, and assisted Columbia Sportswear Chairman, Gert Boyle in the writing of her autobiography, One Tough Mother. Mr. Tymchuk assisted the late Al Reser with his very recently published autobiography, No Small Potatoes.

Kerry Tymchuk comes to the Oregon Historical Society from his position as corporate communications advisor at CFM, Strategic Communication Inc. Mr. Tymchuk is a member of the Oregon State Bar Association and serves on the board of directors for Special Olympics of Oregon and the Oregon Law Foundation as well as serving on the board of trustees for Willamette University.

He has been a board member of the Oregon Historical Society since 2007 and has served as chairman of both the Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum and the History Makers Dinner. Mr. Tymchuk lives in Beaverton with his wife Becky. They are the parents of two children.

“Kerry is the right person to lead the Oregon Historical Society into a new era,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “In addition to his deep roots in Oregon and love for the state, Kerry has an appreciation for its history and culture and a commitment to see that we don’t lose that for future generations. Kerry is the right Oregonian to take on this challenge and I am confident of his success.”

According to former Senator Gordon Smith, “Kerry Tymchuk knows Oregon better than anyone I’ve ever known–its history and culture, its people and politics, its ways and workings. He’s at home among Pendleton wheat farmers, coastal fisherman, Roseburg loggers and in Portland boardrooms. He is a friend to all and anywhere I went in the four corners of the state during my twelve years as a Senator, Oregonians of all political parties would thank me for the service of Kerry Tymchuk.”

About the Oregon Historical Society
The Society has served since 1898 as Oregon’s primary research collection and museum about Oregon history. OHS has an extensive collection of historical pieces, including over 85,000 artifacts and 3 million photographs and films. It safeguards and presents Oregon’s history through a museum, research library, traveling exhibits, school programs and website content.