The Transition with Anthony Petchel, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Posted on May 6, 2013

ELGL member Anthony Petchel is living the dream of every kid in Portland. He is working for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). While we’re sure his job is fun, he doesn’t spend his days in the science playground playing with silly-putty or making sand castles. Instead, Anthony is the Director of Development and has a wide range of responsibilities from working on the Coastal Discovery Center to developing a digital message for OMSI. Anyway, we promise everyone will enjoy hearing about Anthony’s transition from Bank of the Cascades to OMSI, including your children as Anthony provides a insider’s guide to maximizing your next trip to OMSI.

Anthony Petchel

photo of Anthony Petchel

Director of Development, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Stay connected with Anthony: Email and LinkedIn

Undergraduate: UNLV and Graduate: University of Phoenix

Experience: Assistant Vice President, Bank of the Cascades; Strategic Business Consultant, Independent; Banking Center Manager III, KeyBank; and Assistant Vice President, Bank of America

Background Check on Anthony

Anthony Petchel is a currently the Development Director at OMSI.  Prior to OMSI, he was a commercial banker and corporate funder for Bank of the Cascades; working with nonprofits and municipalities. Anthony brings his clients over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry and over 3 years of experience as a business consultant and a strong educational background including an MBA and CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) designation.  Anthony has a strong passion for nonprofits; serving as Board President for Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO), Emerging Local Government Leaders and Voices for Oregon Innovation and Sustainability and has previously served on the Boards of Portland Homeless Family Solutions, Community Development Law Center and the KBOO Foundation.

Q & A with Anthony

Three projects you are currently working on at OMSI.

Coastal Discovery Center: OMSI has undertaken a capital campaign to raise $10 million for a permanent science center and camp on the coast in Newport, OR.

Online/Social Media: Figuring out how we utilize digital mediums to share our message, reach new audiences, and raise money.

Innovation & Efficiency: The fundraising landscape is changing and we need to change with it and learn to do our work more efficiently.

Why leave the Bank of the Cascades? How do you know when it’s the right time to accept a new job?

For me banking was an accidental career (over 15 years). When I made the decision to leave the bank I had not been actively looking for a new job, but I always knew that I wanted to try something other than banking. Like many, I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I originally came across the position at OMSI over the summer, but had not really given it any though until months later when I ran into an old friend who had recently been promoted to the VP of Development at OMSI. After grabbing a drink after work, it quickly became apparent to both of us that this position was exactly what I was looking for and my skillset was what they needed.

Since I was leaving a very good job at the bank, I was afforded the opportunity to be very picky in my decision. During the interviews I asked more questions than they asked of me. So, three interviews later, during the weeks surrounding Thanks Giving, I had an offer and accepted.

How did I know this was the right job?

Everything came together perfectly and effortlessly.  When it is the right time all of the pieces should just fall into place.

Three accomplishments that you are most proud of from your stint with the Bank of the Cascades.

Building the Bank’s brand in the nonprofit sector.

Invited to sit on a national task forces for the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP) that built the Bank Score Card program.

Developed the Bank’s e-mail marketing program.

Give us three challenges you faced in transitioning to a new job.

Learning and navigating a new work culture. As you could imagine, working at a science museum couldn’t be more different than a commercial bank. I am grateful that I don’t have to wear a suit and tie every day now.

Understanding the complexity of OMSI. In addition to learning how OMSI does things, we have a lot of different programs, both in the museum and around the state, a complex budget, and lots of employees.

Not getting lost. Both physically (we have a lot of back hallways) and in conversation (we have a lot of acronyms).

You have a great amount of experience with non-profits in the Portland area. What would be your ideal session, at the ELGL conference, on non-profit management. Give us a few names of leaders in the non-profit world that ELGL should hear from.

 For me, the ideal nonprofit management topic would be:

“Sustaining Leadership: When giving 110% is the norm.”

One of the biggest challenges I see facing the nonprofit sector (and I imagine the government sector too) is burn-out. It’s a lot like running a marathon. You can’t sprint the entire race, so you have to know your abilities and when it’s the right time to push yourself. Good leaders inspire us to work harder and to do more with less. The challenge for leaders is to really know their team, so they can set the right pace.


Local nonprofit leaders:

  • Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust
  • Max Williams, Oregon Community Foundation
  • Agnes Zach, Willamette Valley Development Officers (WVDO)
  • Jim White, Nonprofit Association of Oregon
  • Andy Nelson, Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Mark Holloway, Social Venture Partners

(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want to… to every country.

Worst CD that you have ever purchased.

Joseph’s Amazing Techno-Colored Dream Coat (Andrew Loydd Webber musical). In High school I was in the band and got exposed to musicals. I thought “Hmmm, this one sounds cool”. . . It was horrible. . . . . Disney on acid. . . . .


Name three people (dead or alive) that you would like to FaceTime with.

Ernest Hemmingway

President Obama

Leonardo Da Vinci

List five websites you rely on in your professional career. No matter what field you are in you will always benefit from having a strong network. It’s all about who you know, and who knows you. I stream classical music all day at work. It keeps me calm and focused. Knowledge is power. In many ways, all news comes back to the effect on business and industry. The Portland business journal is a great resource for keeping connected to what’s happening in the region. This is a great site that makes learning new things easy and fun.

In working at OMSI, do you have much interaction with local or regional government.

One of the things that amazed me about OMSI is how connected the organization is with both local and national government. On the education front we work with state and local officials on education policy, local school districts (we’re in 70% of OR school districts) on providing educational programing, and local government leaders on how to make Oregon a vibrant place for scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. OMSI is also working with Representative Suzanne Bonamici on the Oregon and national movement to add the Arts to S.T.E.M education policy. (STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)

So we’re prepared for our next visit to OMSI, what are the hidden gems at OMSI? What is ahead for OMSI? New exhibits? Programming?

You’ve got to take the USS Blueback Submarine tour.


Upcoming Exhibits

  • Mummies of the World – June 2013 – September 2013
  • Drive Revolution: The Future of Transportation–July 13 (11-12 Press days)
  • Portland Mini Maker Faire – September 14-15 2013
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Science of Deduction (World Premier)– October 2013 – January 2014
  • OMSI After Dark (21+ only)

Upcoming Events

  1. May 29 – Mixology
  2. June 26 – Outdoors
  3. July 31 – Exploding Science
  4. August 28 – Global Kitchen
  5. September 25 – Science Is Brewing
  6. October 30 – Science Fiction
  7. December 4 – Forensics

Supplemental Reading

WVDO Executive Director, Agnes Zach, Chief Executive Officer of the Meyer Memorial Trust, Doug Stamm and Anthony Petchel, Banking Officer from Bank of the Cascades and Board President of WVDO

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