Lula Lake Land Trust hires its new leader

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - REGION - BY MARK PACE STAFF WRITER

Lula Lake Land Trust has hired a new ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor from across town to lead the land con­ser­vancy, leav­ing an open­ing atop the Chat­tanooga-based South­east­ern Climbers Coali­tion.

For­mer SCC ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Cody Roney be­gan last Mon­day, re­plac­ing Mike Pollock.

“We felt like the ex­pe­ri­ence she had gained at the South­east­ern Climbers Coali­tion had pre­pared her re­ally well to as­sume the lead­er­ship of Lula Lake,” Pollock said.

SCC had two full-time em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing Roney, and a net­work of vol­un­teers. The new po­si­tion gives her the chance to lead a big­ger or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to land con­ser­va­tion, re­cre­ation and ed­u­ca­tion.

Pollock, 55, an­nounced in Septem­ber that he would be re­sign­ing. When hired in July 2015, he agreed to stay in the po­si­tion for about three years. Now he plans to spend time trav­el­ing, fin­ish­ing projects around his home and work­ing on his hob­bies, such as wood­work. He also plans to ex­plore other ven­tures af­ter the sab­bat­i­cal. There will be a cou­ple of weeks of over­lap be­tween the two as Roney set­tles into the new po­si­tion.

“I’m just ex­cited to have a new gen­er­a­tion in charge of Lula Lake,” Pollock said about Roney, who is 33. “I

think that’s a nec­es­sary step and ex­cit­ing for me to watch un­fold, as we will over the next sev­eral years.”

Both SCC and Lula Lake are land con­ser­va­tion groups, with the climbers coali­tion fo­cus­ing more on re­cre­ation and Lula Lake fo­cus­ing more on con­ser­va­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, Roney said. She is ex­cited to ex­plore the new role and help grow ed­u­ca­tional out­reach at Lula Lake.

Pollock will take over as the chair­man of the Lula Lake board and work reg­u­larly with Roney on projects. They plan to talk weekly about the land trust. Roney is go­ing to take time to meet with staff and the board and learn about the trust’s his­tory be­fore look­ing to­ward the fu­ture of the or­ga­ni­za­tion and any changes she plans to im­ple­ment, she said.

The climbers coali­tion’s other em­ployee, Angie Langevin, who was pre­vi­ously the stew­ard­ship di­rec­tor, moves into the in­terim role of ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

She hopes to get the full-time job, she said, but the coali­tion’s board will con­duct a search through the end of the month to give oth­ers the chance to ap­ply. Roney will help lead the hir­ing process, just as Pollock did for his re­place­ment.

If Langevin is hired as the full­time di­rec­tor, the coali­tion will hire some­one to fill her old po­si­tion, she said. If that hap­pens, they’ll also take time to see if any changes should be made to the

“I think we have a great re­la­tion­ship. I left SCC on great terms. Mike is leav­ing on great terms. It’s a very pos­i­tive, for­ward-mov­ing, for­ward-think­ing tran­si­tion.”

— CODY RONEY, IN­COM­ING EX­EC­U­TIVE DI­REC­TOR

FOR LULA LAKE LAND TRUST

po­si­tion, she said.

In the mean­time, Langevin will work on the com­pany’s data­base and try to stream­line some of the work, mov­ing ev­ery­thing to dig­i­tal plat­forms where pos­si­ble.

“A lot of the bor­ing stuff,” she joked.

The moves have been am­i­ca­ble for all sides, Pollock and Roney said. Pollock gets to take a break and do things he’s wanted to for a long time, Roney gets to move to a larger or­ga­ni­za­tion in town and Langevin has a chance to fill the top job at SCC.

“I don’t think any­one has any cu­rios­ity about there be­ing bad blood on any end of this, but there’s not,” Roney said. “I think we have a great re­la­tion­ship. I left SCC on great terms. Mike is leav­ing on great terms. It’s a very pos­i­tive, for­ward-mov­ing, for­ward-think­ing tran­si­tion.”

STAFF PHOTO BY ERIN O. SMITH

Cody Roney, the in­com­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor for Lula Lake Land Trust, poses for a photo at Lula Lake in Look­out Moun­tain, Ga.

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