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Utah Pioneer Theatre Company Managing Director Chris Lino will retire at the end of 2018-2019 season.

SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Lino, Pioneer Theatre Company's long-time managing director, announced Friday that he is retiring after 28 years with PTC. He will step down at the conclusion of the 2018-19 season.

“The best part of the job for 28 years is the people I got to work with,” Lino said in a press release. “For many years, I've worked with a talented staff that has been making great theater together for decades, well before I arrived on the scene. And, of course, I got to work with the most amazing and dedicated community leaders on our board — men and women from whom I have learned many valuable lessons, not the least of which are lessons about generosity and civic involvement.”

A search committee formed by the theater's board will undertake the nationwide hunt for Lino's successor. The committee will be co-chaired by David E. Gee, a partner in the law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless, and former PTC Board Chairman Paul M. Durham. Gee said he was hopeful the committee might pick a new managing director by March 2019, which is when Lino is scheduled to depart. Lino made his announcement early to assist in the transition.

Mindful of PTC’s loss, Durham said “the search committee will have big shoes to fill because of Chris Lino's extensive experience and track record in managing the theater over the past 28 years.”

Under Lino's management, the theater eliminated its $1.4 million deficit and even built its endowments to over $4.5 million. Lino was also pivotal to helping pass Salt Lake County's Zoo, Arts & Parks Program, which funds more than 200 arts, cultural and botanical organizations, according to Salt Lake County's website.

Harris H. Simmons, a previous president of the PTC Board of Trustees and current chairman of the Board of Directors of Zions Bank, said he first met Lino more than 20 years ago while working on the ZAP campaign.

“His participation was critical to the establishment of the single most important source of funding for Salt Lake County's arts community,” Simmons said in the press release. “His love of the arts, and of the theater in particular, is matched by his business savvy and good judgment.”

Lino’s business success, PTC Artistic Director Karen Azenberg said, has not distracted him from focusing on the audience experience, ensuring that theatergoers have as enjoyable and intimate an experience as possible.

“His passionate one-on-one meetings with patrons and newcomers — often at intermission — have been vital to growing our audience,” she continued in the press release. “We're a multi-million organization, but Chris never loses sight of wanting to talk to folks as if PTC is a small boutique.

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“… We've launched several world premieres, have found new audiences and have brought wider national attention to Pioneer Theatre Company,” she continued. “Chris never says ‘No.’ He says ‘Let me see how I can make it happen.’ Pioneer Theatre Company is richer because of him.”

Lino’s wife, Colleen Lindstrom, was also involved in the theatre company as a longtime patron services manager. She began working in the PTC box office in 1973 and was noted for her love of the theater and its patrons.

“I always told our board that when Colleen retired, I would be exposed as the managing fraud I am,” Lino said in a press release. “She retired last year, and I figured I better follow suit before that joke proved true.”