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SELC Founder, Executive Director Rick Middleton Announces Retirement and Longtime Deputy Director Jeff Gleason Will Assume Helm


SELC Founder, Executive Director Rick Middleton Announces Retirement and Longtime Deputy Director Jeff Gleason Will Assume Helm

PR Newswire

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Rick Middleton, who founded the Southern Environmental Law Center 33 years ago and built it into a powerhouse of environmental and legal protections for the Southeast, has announced he will retire at the end of March 2019. He will pass the reins to SELC's longtime deputy director and director of regional programs, Jeff Gleason.

The Southern Environmental Law Center's Founder and Executive Director Rick Middleton (left) announced he will be retiring in March, when Jeff Gleason, who has more than 25 years of SELC experience, will step in. (Photo Credit: Bill Sublette/SELC)

From a two-office suite on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall in 1986, Middleton has grown SELC into the largest environmental advocacy organization in the region, with nine offices in six states employing 80 attorneys and a total staff of 140 employees.

"It is impossible to overstate how much the South's environment has benefitted from Rick's passion, vision, and stewardship," said Allen L. McCallie, Chairman of SELC's Board of Trustees. "And we could not have found anyone in the U.S. better suited to succeed our founder than Jeff Gleason."

Under Middleton's leadership, SELC has established a reputation of regional, national, and even global impact. SELC has prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court, protected millions of acres of southern landscapes from the mountains to the coast, and spearheaded efforts to move the South from dirty fossil fuels toward a future focused on clean energy.

Middleton is widely respected as one of the country's pioneers of environmental law. After receiving a law degree from Yale Law School, Middleton returned to his home state of Alabama to join the Attorney General's office to enforce the country's new Clean Air and Clean Water acts. After several years in Washington, D.C., he launched SELC, which has been home to some of the best environmental lawyers in the country.

"The thing that I am probably proudest of is that SELC is known for its people," says Middleton. "I have always sought to have SELC reflect what is best about the South—strong sense of place, sense of community, sense of humor, a roll-up-the-sleeves mentality."

Jeff Gleason joined SELC in 1991 to start and lead SELC's Clean Air and Energy Program.

"I am so honored by this opportunity," says Jeff Gleason. "There is no stepping into Rick Middleton's shoes. But I've got SELC in my bones, too, and it's an exciting time to lead an organization that is needed more than ever."

For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With more than 80 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast's foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.

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SOURCE Southern Environmental Law Center

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