South Bend Leader Joins Block by Block
As Block by Block (BBB) looks towards the future of operations, Aaron Perri has been hired as Vice President of Strategic Growth to further BBB’s vision for services throughout the country.
In his new position, Aaron will not only be pursuing new markets to identify potential BBB accounts, but he will also be working to find ways to apply the BBB operating model to more public spaces like municipal governments, transit systems, campuses and parks agencies.
Aaron is the first of two new hires joining BBB from the field of downtown services who were customers before coming to work with us. (Chip is the second, and you can read about him here). Aaron previously held the positions of Executive Director of the City of South Bend and Executive Director of Downtown South Bend, Inc. (DTSB) in Indiana.
As Executive Director of DTSB, Aaron picked up oversight of a previously established BBB Ambassador Program. During his time working in South Bend, he grew this Ambassador Program into three other areas of the city. Working with BBB during these years, Aaron said he “came to understand the extreme values that BBB could add to communities.”
When Aaron announced on his LinkedIn in May that he would be stepping away from serving South Bend directly, his post was flooded with well-wishes and praise for the work he has done there. “You enthusiastically pointed out the gems and saw the possibilities [for South Bend],” one commentor wrote. Another said, “South Bend is a better place because of you. Thank you.” “Thank you so much for the vision and leadership you provided for our City,” said yet another. This single post had over one hundred comments and over four hundred reactions.
The kind words from Aaron’s friends and colleagues are truly a testament to the impact he has had on the city. It is clear Aaron is a beloved leader to the people of South Bend for the efforts he has contributed to change it from what Newsweek called a “Dying City” in 2011 to the place of economic and cultural relevance that it is today. Aaron said this is what he is most proud of in his career so far.
Aaron has played a major role in many projects to better the City of South Bend. Some of his favorites include the South Bend River Lights, a public art project that shines colorful lights across the St. Joseph River, and Howard Park, an award-winning park with playgrounds, fountains, event space and more that helped win the city the National Gold Medal Award, the highest recognition in the industry.
“I was always impressed with the way BBB was able to creatively and professionally bring solutions to the challenges we faced. Even more so, I experienced first-hand the ‘whatever it takes’ commitment from all levels of the BBB team,” Aaron reflected, “I had no clue that I’d one day be on that team, but I’m excited to be here!”
Aaron has a “passion for creating emotionally engaging places” and he “look[s] forward to helping cities across the country identify solutions to do just that!”
He is excited to meet people across the country who are making a difference in their communities, hear their stories and help resource their efforts.
Outside of work, Aaron loves all things Notre Dame football. In his free time, he likes to practice yoga, enjoy great food and wine and travel. Lucky for him, this new position will take him coast-to-coast. He will continue to live in South Bend with his wife and work remotely when he is not traveling.
Welcome to the Block, Aaron! We are proud of your achievements in South Bend and can’t wait to see everything you will accomplish with BBB!