MEC leadership changes: You can count on MEC in the Capitol

A letter from MEC Policy Director James Clift --

I am excited to announce that, after nearly 20 years with Michigan Environmental Council, I have been offered and am accepting a new position with the State of Michigan as the Senior Great Lakes Advisor to Liesl Clark, the Director of the Department of Environment Quality (soon to become the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy). This is an incredible opportunity to build on the work that has been my lifeblood at MEC for nearly two decades and a chance to be impactful and intimately engaged in the administration’s critical decision-making on water issues. I will be assuming the post in a little less than a week.

As you may know, this comes on the heels of the departure of our President, Chris Kolb, who left MEC to become the governor's Budget Director. While this amount of leadership change can be difficult for an organization to absorb, I leave MEC knowing that it remains strong, with a team of smart and enthusiastic leaders who are ready to step up, and a passionate Board of Directors who are eager to help usher the organization into the next phase.

Moreover, MEC members, donors, friends and supporters should be extremely proud that MEC's people are being tapped by the new governor and state leaders. It's a testament to MEC's reputation and commitment to finding sound, science-based solutions and working with anyone who is committed to improving the health and safety of people and protection of the environment—an approach that has been and remains the hallmark of MEC's work.

During this time of transition, MEC will be led by a strong team dedicated to protecting the state's people, environment and resources. Brad Garmon, current Finance Director and policy and program leader here for more than 17 years, will be stepping into the role of Interim Chief Executive Officer while MEC's Board works with the executive search firm, Noetic, to locate and hire MEC's next CEO. The search committee is led by MEC Board Chair and Stewardship Network Executive Director Lisa Brush, and includes strategy consultant Rick Bunch, Michigan Trout Unlimited Executive Director Dr. Bryan Burroughs, Ann Arbor attorney Paul Glendon, retired attorney and fundraiser Christine Green, and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council Policy Director Jennifer McKay. (See the CEO position guide at or contact Rhyan Zweifler at

Having flexed their muscles and proven their mettle during an incredibly challenging lame duck session, a deep, strong and talented policy team at MEC is ready to assume leadership roles at the Capitol and beyond. It includes: Sean Hammond, Charlotte Jameson, Tina Reynolds, Tom Zimnicki, Kate Madigan in Traverse City, and Sandra Turner-Handy in Detroit.

Supported by a top-notch administrative and communications team, this group of attorneys, policy analysts and coalition leaders has collectively put in more than 50 years at MEC, not to mention their prior experiences running legislative offices, working at other environmental organizations and in the private sector. This is a team ready and willing to wade into the tough meetings and negotiations that characterize MEC's work at all levels. I'm proud to have helped them grow into these roles, and ready to watch them rise to the occasion.

And, rest assured, they will know a few people in the Capitol who will be quick to pick up the phone when they call.

These are exciting times for Michigan's people, communities and environment, and your continued support and interest in MEC's work ahead is truly appreciated. Thank you!

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