Peter S. Rummell, principal of the Rummell Company in Jacksonville, Fla., has been selected as the incoming chairman of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a global non-profit research and education institute dedicated to responsible land use, with nearly 30,000 members worldwide. Rummell, a longtime ULI trustee and former chairman of the ULI Foundation, will serve on a voluntary basis for a two-year term that begins July 1, 2011 and ends June 30, 2013.
A member of ULI since 1983, Rummell, 65, began his 40-year development career working at the Sea Pines Company in Hilton Head, S.C. for industry legend Charles Fraser, who taught him the value of building in a way that enhances the surrounding environment, and of seeing potential where others cannot. He would later apply these lessons as president of the Disney Development Company and chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, where he guided major developments including Celebration, Fla., a community widely regarded as exemplary of pedestrian-oriented design and connectivity; and as chairman and chief executive officer of The St. Joe Company, known for its nature-conscious approach to development, including several resort communities along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Rummell believes strongly in long-term planning, and in settling only for high quality – two courses of action that will guide his leadership of ULI, particularly as the institute seeks to expand its impact and influence in the post-recession environment. “In times of transition, it’s important to know who you are and where you are going,” he said. “And, you have to deliver in a way that exceeds expectations.”
Rummell’s long career in land use has also taught him the value of being detail-oriented. “Good work comes from paying attention to details. You have to start with a vision, but then you have to execute against that vision, and the execution is in the details. It’s about how what you are providing is ultimately going to be experienced. That is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary in the land use industry.”
According to Rummell, one of the ULI’s great strengths is its ability to bring together land use professionals from around the world to share knowledge and local experiences, making the institute effective locally at a global level. This quality, he believes, will serve ULI well during this period of change for the industry. “This is a time when everyone is open to change, because everyone has had to change the way they do business,” Rummell said. “We’re in a flexible environment right now, so we have some space to make real, positive, substantive changes in community building. ULI has a strong brand. There is an international need for what we offer, and people are ready to listen to us.”