Friday, December 14, 2001

Clean Air Campaign names new top leader

The Clean Air Campaign Thursday announced that an executive search to replace cofounder and outgoing director Lucy Smethurst has been completed.

Working with the Atlanta office of Boyden, one of the world's oldest and largest executive search firms, the campaign selected Mary McGovern to serve as executive director. Her term of service starts Dec. 13.

A longtime participant in public policy organizations devoted to transportation, air quality and land use issues, McGovern graduated first in her class with a barrister at law degree from the Honorable Society of King's Inns in Dublin, where she was admitted to the Irish Bar. From 1987 to 1991 she worked as a corporate lawyer with New York-based Davis Polk and Wardwell, one of the world's most respected law firms.

"We interviewed a great many candidates that would have provided superb leadership for The Clean Air Campaign," said incoming board Chairman Chet Tisdale. "Her organizational skills as a corporate lawyer will be critical to building The Clean Air Campaign as a significant nonprofit corporation.

"Mary was in a class by herself and was the clear choice to fill the very large shoes of Lucy Smethurst, who has done an incredible job in helping build The Clean Air Campaign into the organization it is today," Tisdale continued.

After practicing law in New York City, McGovern worked as a volunteer with a nonprofit organization involved in studying the city's traffic and air problems and seeking to raise awareness of the need to coordinate transportation planning with air quality concerns.

She also worked with Human Rights Watch where she published a report on human rights abuses in South Africa and authored a series of communications to U.S. and foreign governments detailing the issues in that nation.

McGovern moved to Atlanta in 1994 and continued her work in civic and public policy issues.

She has worked with UNICEF in Atlanta and served as a fund-raiser and addressed children's issues in 1999 and 2000. In 1995, she worked at the Housing Authority of the city of Atlanta, where she overhauled the agency's contracts and procurement program and oversaw the refinancing of housing authority bonds.

She has recently been a board member of the city of Atlanta Neighborhood Planning Unit E and chaired the Ansley Park Civic Association Transportation Planning Project.

In the latter capacity she provided community leadership in connection with an historic agreement between Ansley Park and the developers of Atlantic Station to address traffic issues related to a proposed interstate bridge that would have impacted all residents of Ansley Park.

"The skills she demonstrated in bringing about a successful agreement demonstrate her quiet but highly effective leadership," said Tisdale. "We view Mary as a highly intelligent, committed consensus builder who can take The Clean Air Campaign to the next level of changing behavior as it relates to the region's severe traffic congestion and air quality problems."

"Having been part of the organization from the very beginning, it is very difficult to leave The Clean Air Campaign," said Smethurst. "However, I am confident that I'm leaving it in the hands of a woman that will do great things. I'm looking forward to watching The Clean Air Campaign grow even further under her capable leadership."

In addition her law degree, McGovern earned a master of laws from the University of London's King's College and a bachelor of civil law from University College Dublin.

The Clean Air Campaign is the region's clearinghouse for information about air quality and traffic mitigation. In addition, The Clean Air Campaign offers employers free assistance to design and implement commute options and other smog-reducing programs.

For information phone 1-877-CLEANAIR or visit

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