DuPage forest preserve begins search for new executive director
The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County announced Tuesday that it is searching for a new executive director.
Ed Stevenson, the current executive director, will assist in finding his replacement. Stevenson will also assume a new role with the forest preserve as executive adviser sometime next year.
"We're taking a fresh look at our staff leadership structure," said Stevenson, who has served as executive director since November 2016. "I wouldn't call it stepping back, and I'm certainly not leaving the organization."
Stevenson said he recommended the new position to the forest preserve board. It was in part because the district's leadership has been severely reduced through the years, he said.
"We went from being a leadership team of 15 less than 10 years ago to a team of eight now," Stevenson said. "Taking a look at it at the helm for the past four years, we're asking, 'How can we do things better?'"
As executive adviser, Stevenson will oversee some of the district's long-term and strategic planning initiatives. He will also participate in the negotiation of licenses, intergovernmental agreements, contracts and partnerships with other organizations.
Stevenson has worked full time for the forest preserve since 2004, and has also served as director of golf operations since 2011. Stevenson's duties as executive adviser will continue his oversight of golf operations, including the new clubhouse under construction at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison.
"It's about someone progressing in their role and their career in the organization," said Stevenson about the shift in job duties and title. "This change really is more about stability."
Alongside Stevenson, the search team to find the next executive director includes forest preserve President Daniel Hebreard and human resources manager Janet Van Haren. The executive director supervises senior management and reports to the forest preserve board of commissioners.
"We have enjoyed the strong leadership of Ed Stevenson during this pandemic, keeping our staff and public safe," Hebreard said during Tuesday's board meeting. "Thankfully, we will still have his steady guidance still available as he transitions to his role of executive adviser in 2021, and he will be working diligently with me to find our next executive director to help us complete and implement all of our important projects and initiatives in our master plan."