Search for new head… Roque steps down from Hill House

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Victor Roque, who took over the reigns of the Hill House Association last year following the departure of Evan Frazier, has himself decided to step down. He informed the board last week that he will leave at the end of the fiscal year, June 30.

Marvin Prentice, vice president and COO, will assume Roque’s duties while a search is conducted for a new head. Details of the scope and timetable for the search have yet to be finalized by the board.

Roque
VICTOR ROQUE

“We are ever grateful for Victor’s leadership and commitment during a time of growth and promise for the Hill House and the communities we serve,” said Board Chair Al Hiles. “It’s a historic time in the Hill District and an exciting time for the Hill House. Victor played a key role in guiding us through a number of Hill House ‘firsts’ and we find ourselves in a better place for his talent and commitment.”

In January 2010, Roque, the retired president of Duquesne Light, agreed to serve as interim president while a search was conducted to replace Frazier. In June the search ended with the board selecting Roque as the organization’s president and CEO.

During his brief tenure, the Hill House realized decades of work by helping bring a full service shopping center to the Hill District, which had lacked one for 30 years. The Hill House and its partners broke ground on the Centre Avenue SHOP ‘n SAVE three weeks ago. It is scheduled to open in November.

Two other significant achievements occurred during Roque’s tenure, the opening of a new pharmacy operated by Duquesne University and the completion of renovations to the Kaufmann Auditorium. Now called the Elsie Hillman Auditorium at the Kaufmann Center, the community celebrated its grand reopening with a concert by Grammy Award winner John Legend.

When he took on the presidency, Roque said his main concern was continuing to serve the Hill House’s clients, and moving forward on the projects begun during Frazier’s tenure, but the grocery was his chief concern.

“We want to have a nationally recognized name if we can,” he said at the time. “I’ve been working on this very hard since I got here and the community is anxious. So, I’m hoping to be able to say more sooner rather than later.”

Within days, he announced that Jeff Ross, who owns and operates four SHOP ‘n SAVE stores with his family—two in McKeesport, one in Mt. Pleasant and one in Connellsville—had signed an agreement to run the Hill District store. Not only will it bring a full service grocery to the Hill, but also 100 badly needed jobs.

Roque, 64, was an executive with Duquesne Light Co. ultimately serving as president from 2001 until he retired in 2003. He is a past vice chairman of the Hill House Association’s board of directors. He is a member of the board of directors of Highmark Inc., and an independent board member of PNG Companies LLC. He is also a former board chair of the Urban League of Pittsburgh.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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