In August, 2012, David F. Hales was selected President and CEO of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education.
Prior to assuming this post, Hales was the fifth president of College of the Atlantic. Under his leadership, College of the Atlantic received recognition for innovative academic excellence, and became the first institution of higher education in the United States to be a “NetZero” emitter of greenhouse gases.
President Hales has held numerous positions promoting sustainability nationally and internationally. He directed environmental policy and sustainability programs of the United States Agency for International Development throughout the Clinton administration, served in the Carter administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of the Interior, and was Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. For seven years, Hales held the Samuel Trask Dana Chair of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan.
Hales has represented the United States in numerous intergovernmental negotiations, including the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention to Prevent Desertification, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Rio Plus 5 and Habitat II, as well as in meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Settlements and Commission on Sustainable Development. In addition, he has frequently been called upon to serve as chair or moderator of international conferences, including the Washington and Bonn International Conferences on Renewable Energy and the Hague Conference on Energy for Development and the Ministerial Meetings on Development of the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Hales served on the steering committee of the American College and University President Climate Commitment, chaired the Higher Education Committee for the American Council on Renewable Energy, and is currently vice-chair of the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Hales holds a master’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hardin-Simmons University. He and his wife Barbara McLeod share a home on Mount Desert Island with their son, Daniel. Hales has three grown children, Joshua, Nathaniel and Lisa Davis, and four grandchildren, Taylor and Parker Davis, and Audrey and Griffin Hales.