Grady Spann Named Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Arkansas Land Trust
Updated: May 25, 2022
Grady Spann, who spent 28 years with Arkansas State Parks including six years as director, joins Northwest Arkansas Land Trust (NWALT) as executive director and chief executive officer. The appointment follows a national search for NWALT’s next leader by the board of directors.
“It is an honor and a privilege to join the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust team of professionals,” said Spann.
“It is an incredible opportunity to serve all the people in NWA, to preserve and protect iconic sites such as natural habitats, stream and watershed lands, public access to natural areas and cultural sites and local food and farms. I look forward to being part of the mission and vision of NWALT that will serve generations of Arkansans.”
Spann follows Terri Lane who joined the land trust in 2012. Under Lane’s decade of leadership, NWALT became the first accredited land trust in the state, has grown to protect over 6,000 acres of land across 40 properties in Northwest Arkansas, opened five public preserves, and provided conservation education programs to thousands of students and lifelong learners.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Grady as the next leader of the land trust,” said Lane. “It has been my life's passion to grow the organization over the past ten years and I feel really good about handing it over to someone as experienced and passionate as Grady. I can’t imagine a better fit for the future of the land trust.”
Earlier this week, Spann and Lane reflected on lessons learned in non-profit leadership and how leaving an organization well is one of the best steps to ensure its long-term success. You can read that conversation here.
Spann joined Arkansas State Parks in 1993 as the superintendent of Parkin Archeological State Park. In 2002 he transferred to Historic Washington State Park to serve as the superintendent. In 2005 he transferred to the Ozark Folk Center State Park where he served as the Park Superintendent until 2012. After seven years at the Ozark Folk Center, Spann was promoted to serve as the Region 5 Supervisor, a newly created region that oversees all lodge parks.
In 2016, he was promoted to director of Arkansas State Parks. Spann also served as a park ranger after graduating from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1995. He is the past president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), past president of the Association of Southeast State Park Directors, and formerly the Chairman of the Board of Regents for NASPD State Park Leadership School.
Prior to working for Arkansas State Parks, Spann served in the U.S. Army for nine years as a military tactical intelligence and counterintelligence officer. He was stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and in Washington D.C. He has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Pacifist Medal from the Brazilian Army.
Creative Services Manager
Northwest Arkansas Land Trust
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