Maritime Gloucester, the region’s leader in hand’s-on marine science education and a prominent attraction for visitors seeking to discover Gloucester’s rich maritime heritage, has announced that Thomas Balf will become executive director effective December 1. Balf succeeds Harriet Webster who passed away in June 2011.
An experienced environmental executive, entrepreneur, consultant and educator, Balf has spent his career building successful partnerships with public and private sector organizations. For the last decade, he has led a consortium of national colleges and universities committed to greening campus operations and improving environmental performance. He is a Gloucester resident who grew up in Rockport.
Balf said, "I am honored to lead this outstanding organization and I look forward to working with the staff and board, as well as with the broader community, to fulfill its mission and promise. Maritime Gloucester highlights and celebrates Gloucester’s maritime history, but its real value lies in creating connections between the past maritime industry and the future. Its educational programs and visitor attractions are important engines contributing to Gloucester’s and the region’s economic development, social well-being, and stewardship of marine resources."
Geoffrey Richon, Maritime Gloucester’s, founder and board member, said "Tom Balf brings to the organization the skills that will help us continue the outstanding progress in our development made under our founding executive director Harriet Webster who passed away this summer. Our education programs now reach more than 3,500 students and we have more than 30,000 visitors a year to our site. Under Tom Balf as executive director, we expect to double those numbers in five years."
Balf most recently served as executive director of the Campus Consortium for Environmental Excellence (C2E2). In that capacity he helped prominent colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Boston University, Boston College, Yale, MIT and the University of Massachusetts, improve their environmental performance. A frequent college and university lecturer, Balf is an adjunct professor at Stonehill College teaching a course on sustainability.
Maritime Gloucester Board Chairman David Warner called Balf’s appointment "a significant milestone for Maritime Gloucester. Tom’s experience, his enthusiasm for the mission, and his leadership will enhance Maritime Gloucester’s position as a sustainable organization and leader in hands-on marine science education, while also enhancing Maritime Gloucester as a destination for visitors to Cape Ann." Maritime Gloucester’s story is told in a recent video on YouTube — www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS7qNQDlWtQ.
Balf’s distinguished career includes positions as director of environmental affairs for Aveda Corporation, one of the nation’s leading companies known for environmental stewardship, and co-founder and principal of Nexus Environmental Partners, a firm that works at the intersection of business, government and academia to bring parties together to find innovative solutions to common environmental problems.
Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk said, "Tom Balf has been a leader in the City as a member of the Clean Energy Commission–helping the City achieve Green Community status and win a $200,000 grant. I can’t think of anyone better suited to bring Maritime Gloucester forward into the future."
As an environmental and communications consultant, Balf has more than 25 years of expertise in environmental and regulatory management, and in communicating information. For example, he developed in the early 80’s the Household Hazardous Waste Wheel® which described disposal management options for homeowners. More recently, he was the author of a highly acclaimed higher education booklet entitled "Environmental Roles and Responsibilities in a Climate of Change: Campus Environmental, Health and Safety at a Crossroads."
Balf graduated from Tufts University with a BS in biology and psychology and holds an MS in limnology/zoology from the University of New Hampshire. A Rockport native, he and his wife Donna and their two children reside in Gloucester.