Annette Triplett named new executive director of PedNet Coalition

Thursday, December 13, 2012 | 10:03 a.m. CST; updated 8:14 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 13, 2012

COLUMBIA — PedNet Coalition has named its new executive director.

Annette Triplett, the state director of two early childhood health programs with MU Extension, will become executive director of PedNet Coalition on Jan. 7.

Triplett will be replacing co-founder and current executive director Ian Thomas, who resigned to run for the Fourth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council. Thomas has been with PedNet since its inception in 2000.

She said she has resigned from the early childhood programs she directed for MU Extension — Food From the Farm and Early Sprouts — and will work full time for PedNet.

"I am absolutely delighted that Annette accepted our offer," Board President Darin Preis said. "In her current position, she has demonstrated considerable success in promoting healthy lifestyles and advocating for policy changes that make the healthy choice the easy choice for everyone."

"She brings a lot of energy," Preis said. Triplett has "incredible knowledge" of healthy and active living, he said.

Triplett received her bachelor's degree in life sciences from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and a master's degree in nutrition from the University of Minnesota.

Triplett said she is going to follow PedNet's strategic plan for 2013. It includes projects such as developing the Walking School Bus program to run directly through Columbia Public Schools and CoMET (Columbians for Modern, Efficient Transit), an initiative aimed at expanding transit services to expand ridership, she said.

Triplett said she will be working with all five PedNet part-time and full-time employees and that Thomas will be helping her for about a month.

"Ian and the board provide a ton of experience as I begin the new position," Triplett said. The strategic plan is helpful and has a clear vision for the organization, she said.

Triplett said she is excited and pleased to be involved with the PedNet community.

"She has a lot of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles," Thomas said. He said  that Triplett hardly uses a car and her home is within walking distance of work.

Triplett lives the mission, said Ann Cohen, an MU Extension associate professor who worked with Triplett on the projects Food From the Farm and Early Sprouts.

Cohen said Triplet's "total belief is that we can help change the environment and policy to make it easier for people to be active and make healthy choices."

"It wasn’t my choice ultimately," Thomas said. The review committee for the position, made up of five board members, made the final decision; it also took input from all of the staff and board members, he said.

"She practices what she preaches with active transportation," Steve Spellman, PedNet treasurer and president-elect of the board, said.

Spellman said Triplett was engaged with the selection committee during the interview process and knows how grants work because of her experience at MU Extension.

Triplett is knowledgeable about how to find, administer and report about grants for nonprofits, he said.

Spellman said that is one of the key requirements for the position and "it will be a small learning curve."

Also joining PedNet in January are new board members Whitney Dreier, Auben Galloway and Jake Giessman.

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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