University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans this week appointed Drake Fowler as the new executive director of The North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.

Fowler, who has served as the Arboretum’s chief financial officer and deputy executive director since 2015, will succeed George Briggs, who recently announced his retirement as executive director after 37 years of leadership. Fowler’s appointment becomes effective August 1.

Fowler, a licensed and award-winning landscape architect, has for nearly a decade managed the Arboretum’s annual operating budget, currently $10 million in public and private funds. He has overseen the finance, development, horticulture, facilities and information technology departments, leading more than $5 million in capital improvements.

During his tenure, he has focused on building the Arboretum’s financial stability through grants, contributed funds and earned revenue, and led the process of renovating most of the key facilities in the gardens.

Prior to joining the Arboretum, Fowler managed operations for Design Workshop, an international, award-winning landscape architectural firm, in both the Asheville office and the flagship office in Denver, Colorado. Serving the American Public Garden Association as chair of the Chief Financial Officer Working Group, Fowler fostered a collaborative platform for CFOs to share strategy and benchmarked financial data among more than 600 American public gardens. He holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from Western Carolina University and is the current president of the North Carolina chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.