Watershed director named to lead New Jersey Future

George S. Hawkins to succeed Barbara L. Lawrence.

By: David Campbell
   George S. Hawkins has been named the new executive director of the nonprofit smart-growth planning group New Jersey Future.
   Mr. Hawkins is expected to take up his new post in December, succeeding Barbara L. Lawrence, who left this month after 12 years with the Trenton-based organization to join the philanthropic Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation in Teaneck.
   Mr. Hawkins is credited with building the Hopewell Township-based Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, where he has served as executive director since 1997, into the largest watershed organization in the nation.
   He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton University, where he also teaches classes in environmental law.
   He said Monday that his time with the Watershed has been a "spectacular experience," and said he hopes to use what he has learned there as he tackles statewide issues with New Jersey Future.
   "I’m extremely excited," he said of his new post.
   Prior to joining the Watershed Association, Mr. Hawkins worked for the Environmental Protection Agency in Boston and Washington, where he managed Superfund cases, developed policy on brownfields and pollution-prevention projects, and championed regulatory reform as a member of Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review. He has worked as an attorney in private practice in Boston and Washington. He also manages a sheep and chicken farm in Lawrence Township with his wife and his two children.
   "George has proven leadership talent, and his track record shows he is an entrepreneur in the nonprofit sector," said Andrew M. Chapman, chairman of New Jersey Future.
   "His success at Stony Brook demonstrates that he can develop the support of people with different aims and points of view," Mr. Chapman continued. "Collaboration will be essential to leading New Jersey toward smarter growth. George is committed to the issues, he’s incredibly bright, and he’s going to take us new places."
   Watershed board Chairman Swep Davis said the association’s reach and impact have undergone "exponential growth" under Mr. Hawkins’ leadership.
   "There is no doubt that he will be leaving the Watershed Association in a stronger and more stable condition than it was in when he began his tenure," Mr. Davis said.
   An interim director and plans for selecting a permanent successor will be announced following the next meeting of the Watershed Association board, the chairman said.
   During Mr. Hawkins’ tenure, the Watershed has created the Natural Lands Network of more than 60 local organizations; founded the Watershed Institute, a statewide network of watershed groups; and enhanced its Nature Reserve by adding 240 acres and building the new Mount Rose trail network, the Watershed said.