With way too little fanfare, the gregarious and passionate Matt Cadman stepped down from his position as executive director of the Numerica Performing Arts Center last week. Sorry, Matt, but we’re not going to let you go that quietly.

Our valley owes Matt a huge debt of gratitude and appreciation for the extraordinary things accomplished during his tenure with the PAC. Matt’s passion, vision, energy and the unstoppable force of his personality were instrumental in pushing the PAC to heights that had never before been achieved or even imagined.

When he took over, the organization had a good foundation and Matt steered it to lofty new heights. He was the right person at the right time and the PAC was transformed. The foundation is something that can be built upon by the leader who is chosen to succeed him.

One of the most important accomplishments is that the PAC today feels more like an asset that belongs to all of us in the valley. That sense of ownership and engagement wasn’t as widely shared before Matt decided to leave his teaching role at Eastmont High School and take over the reins of what he called “our precious little theater.”

Matt considered the PAC to be a community center with a stage rather than just a theater where great shows are produced.

Board president Jake Purdom, one of two members with a parent who served on the board, helped me tease out some of the critical aspects of the PAC’s success under Matt.

One of the critical first moves Matt made when he took over was to have a “Spring Fling” event to invite key donors to sponsor every show. Matt’s mantra was “every show sponsored, every seat filled.” He recognized that sponsorships would make it possible to lower the ticket prices to affordable levels so that they could more consistently sell out the house. It was a brilliant move that worked out just as Matt had envisioned.

To develop shows that reflected the growing diversity of the valley, he organized a Latino council to help advise him about how the PAC might create more opportunities for it to appeal to other groups — not just Latinos, but also people from other backgrounds and perspectives. Developing programs that would appeal to a diverse audience has been a continuing commitment at the PAC.

His next move was to find a way to impact students in North Central Washington, especially those from lower incomes. As an educator, he recognized that many children never have the opportunity to experience theater and all of the performing arts. Matt developed a program called Every Kid At the PAC (EKAP) in partnership with school districts.

The PAC brings some performers in a day early to engage with the students and the seats are filled by local school districts.

Matt’s heart for this community and all of its residents is something to behold. I stand in awe of what Matt Cadman has accomplished and the seeds that have been planted to strengthen community for generations to come.

He also has left the PAC with a talented, young and engaged board of directors who are committed to fulfilling its community mission.

For those who feel so inclined, I would encourage you to show your appreciation to Matt by sending him personal notes via email (thanksmattcadman@gmail.com) or by snail mail by addressing it to the PAC (123 North Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801). And if you feel inspired to make a contribution to further the PAC’s work, that would be wonderful.

Let’s show Matt Cadman how much he means to us all.