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Castleberry Fairs

John D. Judge named new Appalachian Mountain Club president


January 11, 2012
BOSTON, Mass. — Nonprofit and government leader John D. Judge has been named president of the 136-year-old Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) following a nine-month nationwide search. Laurie Gabriel, chairman of AMC's Board of Directors, announced the choice on Saturday; the appointment was made on Thursday.

Judge, 44, will become the fourth chief executive of the AMC, effective Feb. 1. He will succeed Andy Falender, who is retiring after 23 years as AMC executive director and president. Judge will oversee the nation's oldest outdoor recreation and conservation organization with more than 100,000 members in 12 chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C.

Headquartered in Boston, the AMC advocates for the conservation and protection of the region's mountains, rivers, and forests; offers over 8,000 outdoor trips each year; maintains over 1,500 miles of hiking trails; hosts over 150,000 overnight guest visits at its eight high huts in the White Mountains — Lakes of the Clouds, Madison Spring, Lonesome Lake, Greenleaf, Galehead, Zealand Falls, Mizpah Spring, and Carter Notch — and lodges, including AMC Highland Center in Bretton Woods and AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and Joe Dodge Lodge. Most recently AMC has conserved 66,500 acres of land in Maine's 100-Mile Wilderness region used for outdoor recreation, education, and sustainable forestry, where AMC manages over 90 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails and three year-round lodges.

"We are excited about John's experience, talent, and passion for AMC's mission, particularly in getting young people engaged with the outdoors," Gabriel said in a prepared statement. "We can't think of anyone we would rather have leading AMC as we work to broaden and diversify our constituents, help more kids and families get outdoors, and expand our role as a conservation leader in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions."

"I am energized by the challenges AMC has committed to taking on over the next decade," Judge said in the same press release. "Attracting 500,000 constituents, helping 500,000 kids experience wild places, fulfilling our vision for the Maine Woods Initiative (MWI), and engaging more people in our conservation and trail stewardship efforts is a tall order, but an exciting one. I am looking forward to using my experience in building partnerships to increase the impact of AMC in the region."

One of the four broad goals established in AMC's Vision 2020, adopted in 2011, is to get lots more kids outside: 200,000 each year directly through AMC's programs, and to encourage another 300,000 to get outdoors through partnerships, online and print information, and training youth volunteers.

"I've only recently met John Judge," explained AMC Senior Vice President Walter Graff of Randolph in a Saturday afternoon telephone interview. "He is an Eagle Scout, enjoys hiking and camping and loves the outdoors; he is eager to get more kids outdoors and to broaden AMC's reach. I've loved working with Andy (Falender) but now it's time for AMC to open a new chapter.

"I'm very excited about the background John (Judge) brings to the position. His work in the City of Springfield, Mass. — which was in receivership — had him working with a broad range of stakeholders, including a vibrant Latino community. He'll be very engaged and eager for AMC to work with local communities and to collaborate with lots of constituencies, including urban kids."

Judge has served in several executive and senior development, finance, and marketing roles. He is credited with transforming a financially troubled Greater Boston chapter of Habitat for Humanity into a top-performing urban affiliate. Most recently, Judge served as Chief Development Officer for the City of Springfield, Mass. He oversaw projects with a collective value of hundreds of millions of dollars and set the city on a path of sustainable development, including construction of the state's largest solar field boasting 17,000 solar panels capable of generating 4.2 megawatts of electricity, all on a capped-landfill. Judge also founded and led Judge Co. LLC, focused on inner-city real estate development and construction.

An active community volunteer, Judge serves on the Boards of Northeastern University's School of Public Policy and the Springfield Technical Community College Foundation. He co-founded the New Frontier Society of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-partisan group that encourages young adult participation in public affairs. He also served as State Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on Community Service and Volunteerism from 2001 to 2004. Additionally, he has served as a volunteer with scouting and other youth groups.

Judge earned a B.A. in economics from Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and a Master's of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He lives in Boston.

To read more about AMC's goals, Google "outdoors.org/vision2020."

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