Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD’s) were formed across the nation in response to the devastating 1930s Dust Bowl. This tragic natural disaster brought about ecological, economic and social devastation to hundreds of thousands of Americans due to farming without necessary conservation practices. Today there are more than 3,000 SWCD’s across the nation. In Illinois, there are 97 SWCD’s in every county who provide assistance to urban and rural land owners. SWCD’s educate, provide technical assistance and funding for conservation practices.
Role of the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Soil and water conservation is crucial to the state of Illinois and the nation. Illinois famers are meeting and often exceeding the challenge to feed the state, the nation and the world. Clean water and healthy soil is vital to agricultural production and equally vital to sustaining the growth of communities across the state. According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS), Illinois has 72,000 farms totaling nearly 27 million acres or about 75% of the state’s total land area. Equally important and often overlooked in the conservation discussion is the remaining 25% of the state’s land area and the millions of residents of the state that need and depend on clean water that live in our urban areas. Soil and water conservation more specifically, clean water and healthy soils are a necessity for all of the state’s residents rural and urban and is the primary responsibility of the AISWCD.
AISWCD’s mission is to represent and empower the 97 SWCDs of Illinois.
The Executive Director is responsible for the achievement of the AISWCD mission through partnership with the Board of Directors. The Executive Director is accountable for the implementation of policies and procedures set forth by the Board of Directors and Member SWCD’s. Guidance and direction is provided by the Association President, Executive Committee and Board of Directors. AISWCD’s Executive Director is responsible for the supervision of AISWCD staff which may include; an Administrative Assistant, financial Manager, a Grants Development Director, local district staff which may perform contract work on behalf of the AISWCD and any other position deemed necessary by the AISWCD Board of Directors. The Executive Director reports to the AISWCD Executive Committee and Association Board.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Promote “Clean Water Healthy Soil”.
- Work with partners and SWCD’s to ensure the success of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy.
- Oversee the implementation of the SWCD Strategic Plan. Provide support for the SWCD’s, District Directors and Staff.
- Provide support to AISWCD officers, Board of Directors, staff, Districts and partners.
- Supervise AISWCD staff and workload, perform annual performance reviews.
- Manage the daily operations of the AISWCD office.
- Coordinate work with the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources to assist with District-wide programing, the state’s water quality goals and funding requests and needs.
- Prepare agendas and materials to assist Officers and Focus Area Committee Chairpersons for Executive Committee meetings; Quarterly Board meetings and other business meetings as deemed necessary.
- Assist in the planning and implementation of Quarterly Board meetings, Annual Meeting/Summer Conference, Environthon, other events and training.
- Represent AISWCD to national and state partners. Travel to state-wide meetings and national conferences as directed by the AISWCD Executive Officers. Visit Districts around the state at Land Use Council meetings, each quarter.
- Develop and maintain good working relationships with State Legislators and their respective staffs; the Governor’s office; county and city governments; federal, state, and local agencies; private organizations which share mutual interests with AISWCD and SWCD’s; and the media.
- Speak and make presentations to various audiences to promote the work of Districts, AISWCD and partnerships.
- Attend public events to educate partners and potential partners the purpose of AISWCD, and the programs and work of the Districts.
- Attend and facilitate events related to SWCD’s.
- Coordinate with Districts to speak with one voice and message in developing state and national policy.
- Implement state and federal partnership agreements that provide staff for conservation across the state.
- Fundraise and solicit donations; prepare and submit project grant applications.
- Oversee and enhance the AISWCD communications network including website, social media, press releases, weekly updates, legislative outreach and newsletters.
- Prepare the AISWCD annual report.
- Develop, with the AISWCD Executive Officers, an annual plan of work each December for the upcoming year’s goals.
- Work with AISWCD Financial Manager and AISWCD Treasurer to develop and prepare the annual operating budget.
- Oversee the preparation of the financial reports for each Quarterly Board and Annual meeting.
- Review bank statements and monitor cash flow.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
- BS in agriculture, a related field or commensurate experience.
- Minimum five years’ experience as Executive Director or similar position.
- Experience with supervising employees and delegating tasks.
- Agriculture background preferred; at minimum, familiarity with agriculture, conservation, environment, political science or a similar field.
- Exemplifies a strong conservation ethic.
- Passion for soil and water conservation.
- Proven experience in fund raising.
- Clear and concise oral and written communication skills.
- Experienced public speaker and facilitator.
- Experienced multi-tasker with enhanced ability to prioritize.
- Enhanced attention to detail.
- Experience with fiscal management.
- Self-motivated, reliable and ability to work independently.
- Proficiency with Microsoft applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher) and website management (WordPress).
- A proven leader who can manage staff effectively and support the AISWCD Board of Directors as well as the 97 SWCD Directors and Staff.
To Apply: Submit the following materials by 4:30 pm (central time) March 2, 2018
- Cover letter
- Salary requirement
- One writing sample that best illustrates your qualifications for the position
- Three professional references
Hours: Full Time; Some work may be required outside of normal working hours
Compensation: Salaried; Commensurate with experience, submit salary requirement
Job Location: Springfield, Illinois but location is negotiable for the best candidate. Some aspects of the position may be performed remotely. Moderate travel is required.