Debra Pflughoeft-Hassett has been hired as executive director of the Empire Arts Center, replacing Emily Montgomery, it was announced Thursday, Nov. 7.

Pflughoeft-Hassett will officially begin her duties on Nov. 25.

The long-time resident of Grand Forks and UND graduate has worked in areas such as program development, energy research and sustainability coordination.

At the Empire Arts Center, she has been the head house manager since 2012 and a volunteer since 2009. She also volunteers regularly for other local nonprofit organizations and events, according to a news release from the Empire Arts Center.

Her previous employment includes work as a manager of coal ash studies at the Energy and Environmental Research Center at UND and as sustainability coordinator for the city of Grand Forks

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“I’m thrilled to start this position because the Empire is such an important gathering place for our community,” she said in the release.

Jonathan Holth, president of the Empire Arts Center Board, said: “Debra brings a unique set of skills and experience, combined with a strong passion for and knowledge of the Empire Arts Center.”

In her new role, Pflughoeft-Hassett will take over for Montgomery who was hired as executive director of the Empire Arts Center in June 2012.