March 24, 2024

Contact: Ron Merkley, Chairman  

Phone: (613) 345-6216 ext. 102                                      



The 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation is officially announcing the hiring of its new Executive Director.

Ms. Trish McNamara, currently the Senior Program Manager for the Kingston Employment Youth Services office located in Gananoque, will be taking over the helm from the corporation’s long-serving Executive Director, Mr. Tom Russell.

“I am very pleased to announce Ms. McNamara as our new Executive Director,” stated the corporation’s chairman, Mr. Ron Merkley.

“Trish brings impeccable credentials to the table with over thirty years of diverse experience working with the non-profit, public, and private sectors. She knows how to navigate and manage government programs, she has written many successful funding proposals, she has been responsible for multi-million-dollar budgets, and she has owned and operated a small business.  She really is a perfect fit.”

Ms. McNamara has a wide and varied employment history including her time as Dean of Clarke College, as owner of a private consulting firm, in various roles with the Employment & Education Centre, and as Senior Program Manager with KEYS.  

She holds multiple certifications, including Certified Career Development Practitioner and Certified Career Strategist.  She graduated with distinction from the Teacher of Adults Program at St. Lawrence College. 

She also has an extensive volunteer and community service history, including time as President of the 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the 1000 Islands Region Workforce Development Board and Eastern Ontario Ambassador for Career Professionals of Canada.

Ms. McNamara expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to lead the organization. “I am so excited to take on this new challenge and I’m very grateful to the 1000 Islands CDC for putting faith in me to continue this incredibly important work. Having personally been an entrepreneur and having worked with small business owners for many years, I am intimately aware of the challenges they face.  It will be my privilege to be at their service.”

The 1000 Islands CDC is a community-based, non-profit organization governed by a local volunteer board of directors. It has invested tens of millions of dollars in job creation program funds throughout the 1000 Islands region, and it is the steward of a small business loan fund that is currently valued at ten million dollars. 

Organizations receiving significant assistance from the 1000 Islands CDC have included Thousand Islands Boat Museum, Aquatarium, Thousand Islands Playhouse, Brockville Arts Centre, Brockville Public Library, Brockville Historic Tunnel, Rockport Customs House, Canada 150 Gord Brown Memorial Outdoor Rink, Mallory Coach House, and many others. 

Since 1990, the corporation has lent more than $40,000,000 to over a thousand small businesses who have in turn invested $250,000,000 and created several thousand jobs throughout the region. 

In a nod to her predecessor, Ms. McNamara offered congratulations to Mr. Russell on his retirement. “I extend heartfelt gratitude to Tom Russell for his unwavering commitment to our organization and to the communities we serve.  I am very excited to continue his remarkable legacy.”

In a statement of his own, Mr. Russell offered congratulations to his successor. “I’ve known Trish for decades as a trusted colleague and, ultimately, as a dear friend.  Our hiring committee really knocked this one out of the park because she’s as good as it gets.  I am very relieved that the organization will be left in her kind and capable hands.”

Ms. McNamara will officially begin her tenure on June 10th of this year.  Mr. Russell will remain with the corporation in an advisory capacity for the next several months.


The 1000 Islands CDC is a community based, non-profit organization governed by a volunteer board of directors and staffed by a small team of dedicated professionals. It represents one of sixty-one Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in Ontario funded by the Government of Canada and administered in our region by the Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev).  The objective of the program is to promote economic growth and job creation leading to more diversified, competitive, and sustainable communities.