Marie Fechik-Kirk, former Director of Sustainability, left her position at Lafayette College last month. Lafayette is currently searching for a new director and plans to have a replacement by this summer, according to Roger Demareski, Vice President for Finance and Administration.
“[Fechik-Kirk’s] role was so important, so critical, because it spans administrative and academic roles, so we decided to do a true nationwide search.” Said Demareski. “We’re using an executive search firm that specializes in areas in sustainability.”
Lafayette College is partnering with the management consulting firm Korn Ferry to find potential candidates for the position. Demareski explained that the kick-off call will be held this week, and they are hoping to have a candidate identified or already on campus.
“Sustainability is a field in high demand, and we’re looking for a very special person to be able to accomplish and lead the things we’re trying to accomplish with the climate action plan,” he said. “We decided we wanted someone to really go out and not just find people that are looking for work but find that person that is amazingly successful that we can recruit to Lafayette to run our program.”
The ideal candidate for the position of Director of Sustainability is difficult to find, explained Demareski. He believes using a search firm will yield the most successful results.
The Sustainability Director needs to be able to work with groups across Lafayette. Demareski added that whoever fills this position must be able to work with many groups on campus.
“Beyond…educational experience, work experience and what they’ve done in their career, finding someone that can navigate across [campus] will take a bit of effort,” he said. “Everyone has their area of focus…so we’re not opposed to someone who is focused more academically or focused more on energy, but they have to have the ability to span across the [college].”
Demareski explained that the Director of Sustainability is responsible for education outreach as well as administration duties. Educating students on climate change and how to make decisions that will benefit the environment is an important aspect of the position.
“I think [Fechik-Kirk] did a good job of that…but it reinforced the truly unique talented person that can do that kind of work,” said Demareski.
Fechik-Kirk left shortly after the release and board approval of the Climate Action Plan 2.0, a project she worked closely on with a committee of staff members. The plan outlines the recommended timeline for Lafayette College to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.
Demareski plans to find someone who can pick up this legacy and see the Climate Action Plan to completion. A candidate who can begin to implement the plan, navigate issues and adjust the plan as necessary to remain on track for carbon neutrality.