Dan Moilanen in as new conservation district head


LANSING – The Michigan Association of Conservation Districts has hired Dan Moilanen to lead as the organization’s new executive eirector.

Lori Phalen, the current executive director, is retiring effective Thursday after 14 years of service in the position.

Moilanen sees conservation districts as the key touchpoint for integrating conservation work into local communities, and improving the natural health and habitat of Michigan’s many unique regions.

“As the ‘boots on the ground’ in our communities across the state, Michigan’s conservation districts will continue to play a pivotal role in protecting our natural resources by promoting sustainable practices, reforestation efforts and other critical conservation work,” Moilanen said.

Moilanen has held a variety of legislative, political and community-focused roles, and is a graduate of Albion College. He is the current board chair of the Genesee County Conservation District. Moilanen is also the former owner of Vehicle City Tacos, a downtown Flint business.

“Dan Moilanen brings a wealth of experience in small business ownership, community service and political engagement to the position as executive director,” said Jerry Miller, MACD president and Kent County Conservation District board chair.

“I have enjoyed serving with Dan on the Genesee Conservation District Board, and look forward to working with him as he transitions into his new position as executive director of MACD,” said Nancy Szikszay, Genesee County farmer and board member of the GCD.

MACD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was established in 1937 through the monumental Soil Conservation District Law in response to the Dust Bowl and extreme drought across the country. The association consists of 75 locally led conservation districts that assist farmers, producers and foresters with implementing conservation practices across Michigan’s 83 counties.

While the work of Michigan’s conservation districts has evolved over the last 83 years, the core mission has remained the same: protect Michigan’s natural resources and empower all Michiganders to do the same.

“Being a lifelong outdoorsman and environmentalist, I consider conservation and environmental stewardship a sacred duty,” Moilanen said. “As MACD’s executive director, I will advocate for member districts and do everything I can to help build capacity in our local units of government to secure a financially sound future.”


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