NESCAUM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit association of state air quality agencies in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The directors of these agencies serve as NESCAUM’s board of directors. NESCAUM’s purpose is to provide scientific, technical, analytical, and policy support to the air quality and climate programs of the northeast states. NESCAUM helps its members develop effective strategies to attain and maintain national ambient air quality standards, mitigate the impact of climate change and pursue emerging issues. NESCAUM staff coordinate and facilitate the activities of a number of committees and workgroups composed of staff from the member agencies who meet regularly to discuss topics such as air toxics and public health, permit modeling, mobile sources, monitoring, attainment planning and enforcement and compliance. The organization also coordinates professional training for staff from its member agencies.
Overview of the Organization and Programs
The northeast governors created NESCAUM in 1967 to help their states more effectively address air pollution issues through coordinated management of air as a shared resource, which was a breakthrough concept in environmental policy at that time. In the decades that followed, the northeast states—working together through NESCAUM and with the federal government—made dramatic progress in reducing levels of airborne lead, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter and a host of air toxics. These air quality improvements occurred while the region’s economic output, electric power needs, household energy consumption and vehicle miles traveled grew, demonstrating that environmental and public health protection can occur in lockstep with economic development.
NESCAUM creates an important block of states that has helped make its region a national and international leader in air quality and climate change protection despite the relatively small size of most of its individual states. Coordinated regional actions also help the states adopt and implement emission control strategies and enable its member agencies to be more efficient through complementary actions that alleviate the need for each state to undertake them in isolation. With its member states now dealing with daunting issues such as climate change, NESCAUM remains intently focused on the great challenges that lie ahead. To this end, regional coordination is even more crucial due to the interconnected nature of the Northeast’s energy and transportation systems and common airshed.
NESCAUM is uniquely entrepreneurial and leverages the dues provided by its member agencies to raise considerable resources to support state air quality and climate work. NESCAUM has successfully brought in funding from a wide range of public and private sources. NESCAUM also competes for state grants related to air quality, climate, and energy and has contracted with all of the member states at various times to conduct analysis and research in support of their programs. Over the last three years, NESCAUM’s annual operating budget is approximately $3 million. NESCAUM employs 15 staff members, several of whom work remotely from the Boston headquarters.
For the last 14 years, NESCAUM has been efficiently and effectively led by Executive Director Arthur Marin, who originally joined the organization in 1991. Arthur recently announced he will retire from the executive director position, effective December 31, 2018. Subsequently, he will serve in a consultative capacity to NESCAUM on an as-needed basis through June 30, 2019.
Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
The organization is approaching its first leadership transition in 14 years. The next executive director will have the opportunity to lead this ground-breaking, forward-looking nonprofit dedicated to addressing air quality and climate issues while influencing the nation’s agenda through the collective efforts of NESCAUM’s staff and member states. High priorities for the next executive director include:
- Managing effectively and efficiently the daily operations of a mission-driven, $3 million nonprofit, directing and empowering a team of dedicated and highly skilled professionals committed to air quality, climate and energy issues.
- Navigating NESCAUM’s first major leadership transition since 2004, ensuring that existing external relationships are transitioned to the new executive director, so the leader is well-positioned to interact with and influence a broad range of constituencies.
- Working collaboratively with the board of directors and staff to develop and articulate a refreshed vision for NESCAUM, one which capitalizes on NESCAUM’s reputation and credibility; considers new ideas and approaches; and sustains NESCAUM’s reputation as a forward-thinking convener and facilitator.
- Creating a resource development strategy to sustain NESCAUM’s work on air quality and climate issues, one which recognizes the work and involvement of other nonprofits and funding uncertainties at the federal and state levels.
- Developing and implementing a robust human resource strategy with a formal onboarding process and mentoring program for new employees and approaches for sustaining a cohesive and supportive work culture at an organization with several remote employees.
- Supporting the board of directors to create clarity about its role and responsibilities, particularly regarding resource development, and sustaining strong connections between the board and staff.
Desired Credentials/Profile of the Ideal Candidate
- Interest in and knowledge of air, climate, energy and/or environmental policy required
- A minimum of five years of senior leadership, or equivalent experience
- Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred
Skills and Experience
The executive director will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s operations, finances, facilities and staff, efficiently aligning and maximizing resources to achieve NESCAUM’s strategic goals. The leader must be a multi-tasker, who can set priorities and manage self and others to project completion, while engaging all board members in effective governance, working collaboratively with them and their states to collectively achieve a mutually agreed upon vision for the region.
Consummate Relationship Builder and Collaborator
The executive director must be a collaborator at heart, able to work with multiple states, stakeholders and the federal government, having an understanding of how government works, while being realistic about its limitations. The executive director must forge, build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with many constituencies, exercising influence (rather than authority) to move policy, processes and people forward to accomplish regional goals.
Visionary and Entrepreneurial Leader
The executive director must bring an entrepreneurial spirit to the work and be able to lead the organization to develop a broad vision, ultimately and collaboratively leading NESCAUM to develop and implement a comprehensive regional strategy. The executive director must possess a flexible mindset and be adaptable and fluid to proactively develop and influence policy at the state, federal and regional levels, adroitly taking advantage of unexpected opportunities and mitigating challenges as they arise.
Air Quality and Climate Champion and Advocate
Although the next executive director does not need to be an air quality or climate scientist, the leader must be inspired by NESCAUM’s mission, and be able to understand, discuss and advocate for regional environmental, air quality, climate and/or energy policy. The leader must also be capable of influencing policy outcomes through strong, clear, concise and persuasive written and verbal communications.
Empowering Team Builder and Manager
The executive director must be an experienced personnel manager, with the ability to develop, empower and support a highly qualified, committed and independent group of professionals. Leading by example and with a positive and inspirational attitude, the executive director must create a collaborative and mutually supportive work culture and climate. Experience and skill at remote staff management is strongly desired.
The executive director must have a strong desire to engage self and others in fundraising, with the ability to create a vision and strategy that anticipates funding opportunities. Also, the leader must work collaboratively with NESCAUM’s policy, technical and support staff to craft high-quality grant proposals designed to secure and sustain substantial private and government funds. Lastly, the executive director must ensure that relatively complex government and private grants and contracts are managed efficiently and effectively.
This search is being conducted by TSNE MissionWorks with transition consultant John Tarvin. Candidates are strongly encouraged to apply promptly as submissions received by October 3, 2018 will be prioritized. All submissions will be acknowledged and are confidential.
Please include a resume and a cover letter with salary requirements, information regarding how you learned of the position, and a description of how your qualifications and experience match NESCAUM’s needs and mission. All submissions of candidacy will be accepted until the position is filled. Salary is commensurate with experience, within the framework of the organization’s annual operating budget.
NESCAUM is an equal opportunity employer and actively seeks a diverse pool of candidates.