January 17, 2014
Dear ASOC Colleagues and friends -
As many of you are aware, thirty-five years after co-founding the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, and after almost a decade as its Executive Director, I am retiring this year. March 31, 2014
will be my last day on staff. I am pleased to announce that Mark Epstein will take over as ASOC’s new Executive Director on January 20.
Mark officially joined the team January 1, 2014 and the transition to his leadership is well underway. He stood out during a year-long search, based on his decades of work in the conservation community. Mark brings leadership experience as a nonprofit CEO, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of state, national and international organizations. He has been a senior executive with leading organizations, including American Rivers, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Oregon Natural Resources Council, and served as board chair for the Coral Reef Alliance as well as several other nonprofit and private sector organizations. His career includes significant experience in strategy, fundraising, communications, and outreach work with diverse coalitions. Mark traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula in 1989 while working for the Environmental Defense Fund, and documented the sinking of the Bahia Paraiso near the US’s Palmer station, underscoring the critical need for strong environmental safeguards to protect the world’s last great wilderness.
Mark is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and NYU School of Law. He also ran for Congress in 1990, earning 41% of the vote with a grassroots-based campaign focused on bringing environmental issues to the forefront in the coastal New York community he grew up in. Mark believes deeply in ASOC’s mission and is excited about working with the ASOC team, its coalition of over thirty NGOs interested in Antarctic environmental protection, and other partners and colleagues.
I am very grateful to my colleagues for the opportunity to lead ASOC, which has allowed me to know so many wonderful people. Antarctica and ASOC will always hold a very special place in my heart. I look forward to supporting Mark in the coming months and to ensuring ASOC’s enduring future as the non-governmental organization working full time to preserve the Antarctic continent and its surrounding Southern Ocean.
James M. Barnes