Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Forest Preserve District of DuPage County
Executive Director
Our Mission
To acquire and hold lands containing forests, prairies, wetlands, and associated plant communities or lands capable of being restored to such natural conditions for the purpose of protecting and preserving the flora, fauna and scenic beauty for the education, pleasure and recreation of its citizens
Our Vision
To be a district jeweled in open space that connects nature and people and serves as a model of dynamic leadership, inspiring excellence in environmental ethics, resource education and compatible recreation
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, an award-winning government agency 20 miles west of Chicago, is seeking a full-time executive director.  The Forest Preserve District manages 25,000 acres of prairies, wetlands and woodlands, which are home to over 1,200 species of native plants and animals. It operates trails, picnic areas, fishing lakes, five education centers and other amenities for over 4 million visitors annually and provides regional flood control. For almost 100 years it has helped to improve the overall quality of life for DuPage County’s citizens, which today number almost one million. Its nearly $42 million annual operating budget is primarily funded by local real estate taxes and supports the agency’s mission of conservation, education and recreation.
The Opportunity: Executive Director
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is a model organization that is looking for a creative, politically savvy, and mission-driven professional to serve as its next leader.  The Board of Commissioners seeks an experienced, self -confident senior executive accustomed to exercising leadership in times of change and interfacing with multiple constituencies (individuals and entities).  The ideal candidate will be an effective leader, communicator, and advisor.  This role will ensure that a long-range strategic plan for the Forest Preserve is developed, implemented and communicated to all key stakeholder groups. Using the plan as a guiding template, the Executive Director will ensure that the Forest Preserve sustains its reputation as the model agency in Illinois and throughout the region and country.  This individual is expected to take a strong role in molding and shaping a culture within the Forest Preserve that is perceived by all its stakeholders as service-oriented, fiscally responsible and ethically accountable.
Reporting to a seven-member paid, publicly elected, partisan board of commissioners, the Executive Director supervises senior management — two deputy directors and the directors of the offices of Education, Environmental Services, Finance, Golf Operations, Human Resources, Information Technology, Land Management, Land Preservation, Law Enforcement, Natural Resources, Planning and Public Affairs.  The senior staff team has a combined tenure of experience, talent and enthusiasm that can be counted on to help the Executive Director succeed. 

The Qualified Candidate
The successful candidate will have experience in leading operations and administration at a large institution, (governmental/public entity, not-for-profit or corporate) of similar size and scope.  The next Executive Director will have the experience and/or the ability to comprehend and appreciate the Forest Preserve’s functional areas including natural resources, forestry, land and construction management.  S/he will know how to: develop, plan and administer programs to achieve District objectives; understand, communicate and enforce principles and practices of administrative management and government budgeting;  be aware and follow local, state and federal legislation and regulations pertinent to forest preserves, and preservation and conservation in general; and value DuPage County – its people and natural resources. 
Specific Requirements Include:
  • A minimum of 10 years of progressive leadership and management experience at a government, public, nonprofit or corporate agency of similar size and scope and a documented ability to manage staff.
  • Understand, communicate and enforce governmental administrative- and budget-related practices and procedures.
  • Proven track record in financial management, budget preparation and management, purchasing and contracts, and revenue-increasing strategies.
  • Ability to communicate and build strong relationships with diverse interest groups, such as staff, volunteers, elected officials, partner organizations and the general public.
  • Understand and follow local, state and federal legislation and regulations that relate to forest preserves and conservation in general.
  • Ability to advocate for the preservation of natural resources and issues affecting DuPage County, the District and its citizens.
  • Change-management experience and conflict-resolution skills.
  • Proven success in building strong and productive teams with a focus on mentoring and nurturing staff development.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills and strong public speaking and presentation skills.
  • Basic understanding of computer technology and proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Bachelor’s degree (master’s or advanced degree preferred) in public policy, public or business administration, finance, or a closely related field from an accredited institution.
  • Strong moral ethics and integrity as well as flexibility.
  • Be a resident or willing to become a resident of DuPage County.
 To Apply
This position offers a competitive salary with strong benefits.  All inquiries will be held in strict confidence.
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria.
This search is being managed by Heather A. Eddy, CFRE, President and COO of Alford Group Executive Search.  To apply, candidates should submit their cover letter and resume with the complete the online application at applications will be accepted via email.
Alford Group Executive Search is a retained search firm dedicated to providing recruitment services of exceptional quality and strengthening public and not-for-profit institutions through professional staffing solutions.