Nancy J. Preis joined the staff of Opera in the Ozarks in 2015 as General Director.
She holds a Ph.D. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Michigan and has had a varied career in both academia and business. Her passion is opera, however, and she currently serves as the chief financial officer, marketing manager and occasional costume manager with the St. Petersburg Opera Company in Florida.
She was an associate professor at the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University in New York City. She was subsequently a vice president of Kleinwort Benson N.A., a British merchant banking company. She was part of leveraged buyout team and specialized in middle market investment analysis. She moved to Florida to take over the management of a small electric motor company. Through acquisitions, she put together a group of specialty manufacturing companies. The companies design and manufacture components for transportation, industrial, medical and military applications. She grew those companies to nearly 150 employees with revenues in excess of $15 million (from $200,000 at the time of her hiring) before retiring from the business in 2016.
She became involved in The Florida Orchestra first as a season ticket holder and later as a board member. She became friends with one of its principal musicians, a bassoonist, who later founded the St. Petersburg Opera. From modest beginnings eleven years ago, the opera company now produces five mainstage productions a year and has an annual budget of over $1 million. It was her vision that led the company to purchase and raise the money for a production facility where all opera operations other than major performances take place. The company has the distinction of having run in the black in every year of its existence. She has served on multiple boards of not for profit organizations. She is also helping develop the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival.
Dr. Preis is enthusiastic about Opera in the Ozarks. “I love working with singers, musicians and creative people – what could be better than the opportunity to make great music and develop great musicians except to put it all together in the original multi-media production?”