Brad Campbell points to two moments in his life that awakened his love for the natural world and his passion as an environmental activist. He grew up a city kid in Philadelphia and its suburbs, his childhood experiences limited to urban parks and creeks. But then, as an 11-year-old, he had the chance to spend a week at an environmental school on the upper eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
That week of intense outdoors experiences ignited a lifelong love affair with the environment--so much so that he later returned to that same environmental school, spending much of his senior year of high school there, and going on to chair their board of trustees for 20 years. He was there, days after his 18th birthday, when the Three Mile Island nuclear station had a partial meltdown. "The plant was on the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake's main tributary, and soon, the local waters were dotted with government vessels wielding radiation monitors," recalls Campbell. "It was a jarring moment, seeing how quickly an environmental catastrophe many miles away could threaten this relatively unspoiled part of the bay, putting both a treasured natural resource and the livelihood of local watermen at risk."
Campbell has spent nearly his entire career since fighting for the environment. He started in the public sector, including serving as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuting environmental cases, as Regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Mid-Atlantic Region, and as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Later, he headed his own environmental firm and even co-founded an energy company, which developed some of the largest net-metered rooftop solar projects in the country.
When the opportunity came to lead CLF as its next president, it seemed tike a natural progression in his long advocacy career. Campbell knew CLF from his experience working to craft the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative white at the New Jersey DEP. "I'd been highly aware of CLF's presence and sterling reputation in both the regional and national advocacy communities," he says. "CLF has extraordinary institutional credibility."
Campbell's own reputation and experience made him stand out as a candidate to CLF's Board of Trustees-led presidential search committee. "Brad's professional history that combines public sector, private practice, and entrepreneurial success was an ideal fit for us," says Sara...