Position Announcement at Partner Organization

One of our partners in the region, the Driftless Area Initiative, is looking for an Executive Director.

Position Description:

The Executive Director is responsible for the strategic planning and day-to-day operations of the Driftless Area Initiative with oversight by the DAI Board.  Primary duties include: establish 501(c)3 status for the organization, secure funding to support the organization’s mission, recruit organizations and individuals to expand the partnership, manage and promote current projects, and develop and distribute information and education materials.

Executive Director – Driftless Area Initiative

The Driftless Area Initiative (DAI) has an immediate opening for a full-time (part-time will be considered), limited term Executive Director. The position will be located in Lancaster at the USDA Service Center or other central location in the Driftless Area.  The term of the position is approximately 18 months. Continued employment will be dependent upon pending grants and funding secured by the Executive Director. Use of personal vehicle is required and will be reimbursed at the IRS mileage rate.


The Driftless Area Initiative (DAI) was organized in 2003 by a partnership of non-profit organizations to develop a unified voice for related resource issues that affect land and water in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. The DAI strives to coordinate natural resource conservation efforts of organizations and interested people within the 24,000 square-mile area that was missed by the glaciers.  The project has been led by six Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC&D’s) from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.  These Councils have worked cooperatively to secure funding, implement projects, employ staff and build the DAI partnership.  To date all DAI projects have been administered by individual RC&D Councils which are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations.  To further expand the partnership the DAI is now working to become its own non-profit organization.  The organization has developed Articles of Incorporation and By-laws and is currently incorporated in the state of Wisconsin.  The Executive Director will help position the DAI to become a model organization for the protection and improvement of the Mississippi River Landscape in the likes of the Chesapeake Bay Project or the Great Lakes Initiative.


  • Bachelor’s degree in natural resource management, public relations or related field.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills with an ability to convey the need for natural resource protection and improvement in the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
  • Skills in written and verbal communication including technical writing methods, techniques & procedures.
  • Experience with project and grant management
  • Familiarity with agricultural issues, farming practices, and working with rural communities.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities and work under pressure with flexibility.
  • Valid driver’s license, safe driving record, and current auto insurance.


  • Experience and proven success in developing grant proposals.
  • Experience with running a non-profit organization.
  • Design and layout of promotional materials such as brochures, newsletters and press releases.
  • Experience in the development of capital campaigns and charitable giving programs.
  • Experience in the development and implementation of marketing and information/education plans.
  • Familiarity with state and federal resource agencies and their conservation assistance programs.
  • Familiarity with biomass energy production and utilization.
  • Familiarity with water quality issues and programs.
  • Experience with the development and implementation of strategic plans.
  • Working knowledge of GIS database management


Complexity/Problem Solving:

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to prioritize tasks and develop timelines for project completion.  Strong organizational skills.


  • Duties will be performed under minimal supervision.  Work with partner team to develop annual or biennial work plans.
  • Exercise independent judgement.  Work affords opportunity to act independently and make decisions within tight timeframes.

Communications/Interpersonal Contacts:

  • Ability to build and maintain collaboration with a wide range of people from various backgrounds.
  • Ability to function productively as a member and leader of a team.
  • Ability to express ideas and exchange information clearly and persuasively, both verbally and in writing

SALARY & BENEFITS:  Salary is based on experience and can range from $38,000 – $52,000.  Benefits package includes paid federal holidays, paid vacation/sick leave, and cash allowance for insurance or retirement after a 3 month probationary period.


Qualified applicants should submit the following by February 26: (1) letter of introduction (2) current resume (3) references (4) a writing sample, to:

Email: swbadger@tds.net

or mail to:

Driftless Area Initiative
150 West Alona Lane
Lancaster, WI 53813
608-723-6377 x136