NAPERVILLE, Ill. — The TREE Fund is pleased to welcome its new president/CEO, J. Eric Smith.

A South Carolina native, Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He served for 10 years with the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Program and the Department of Energy. Since leaving Federal service, he has spent 30 years in the public sector in fundraising, communications, PR, operations and executive management, most recently as the executive director of the Salisbury House Foundation in Des Moines, Iowa.

“As an avid outdoorsman, hiker and lover of green spaces I am a life-long beneficiary of the arboriculture industry’s contributions to the health and beauty of our planet,” Smith said. “I am excited by the opportunity to help the industry address the challenges to the urban forest posed by climate change, urbanization and other ongoing social and scientific changes. There are few things more powerful than knowledge, and I believe that the types of primary research and education programs that the TREE Fund makes possible can and should be widely communicated and leveraged to benefit as many communities, businesses, citizens and industries as possible.”

Randall H. Miller, TREE Fund board chairman, expressed confidence in the foundation’s new leadership. “Eric’s unique skill set includes the intelligence of a nuclear physicist, the dedication and discipline of a naval officer and the fundraising and interpersonal skills of an experienced public sector executive. He is eminently qualified to lead the TREE Fund into the future, and we’re looking forward to working with him.”