After a multimillion dollar renovation project, Center in the Square in downtown Roanoke is a showplace.

Jim Sears has been a driving force behind Center for two decades as President and General Manager.
At the end of this year, he'll retire.

"When you renovate a building and it's 30-million dollars and everything is all painted and nice and you see a scrape on the wall -it drives you crazy," he says laughing. "So, it's time to turn this over to someone else."

Former SunTrust exec Barry Henderson will take over January 1st.
Sears will stick around as a consultant for six-months.

"I've been here 20-years. We need new inspiration, new ideas, new visions and I have a great staff, they're willing to come up with great ideas. They always have," explains Sears.

The renovation brought state of the art technology and a lot of interest, but it's what it brings the community that Sears is most proud.

"Whether it's a brand new facility or an older facility that we had, we still do same thing in the terms of education and exposing the kids and the families in this region to an improvement in their quality of life and in their education, this is critically important to the education of kids," Sears says.

While Sears admits funding has been a challenge since the state cut backs several ago, he's remains committed to the work Center does and the eight-cultural agencies it supports.
A commitment that started two decades ago and will go on thanks to his dedication.