TPL Appoints Two New Senior Division Leaders, Director Of Georgia Office

Two new Division Directors and a new state director for Georgia were appointed Tuesday as part of The Trust for Public Land’s focus on building parks and programs in America’s urban areas, announced Chris Kay, the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President.

Raymond Christman, a business leader and senior executive with extensive experience in financial services, housing and real estate, will be a Senior Vice President and head the Mid South Division, based in Atlanta; while Dr. Jeff Danter will be Senior Vice President as Director of the Atlantic Seaboard Division from the offices in Washington, D.C., Kay announced.

“As the only national conservation organization focused on working in cities and urban areas across the country, we have seen real successes in our Parks for People program and Ray and Jeff are just the kind of leaders we are looking for to help lead us into the future,” said Kay.

Danter will replace Cynthia Whiteford, who is retiring as the Northern Division director, capping a career which began in the organization in 1995 when she joined as the associate manager in what was then the Midwest region.

Christman will take over from Robert McClymonds, who leaves after a 20-year career which began when he came aboard as project manager in 1991.

Kay also announced the appointment of Curt Soper to be the new director of the Georgia office, replacing Helen Tapp, who has retired. Soper comes to the position from the government of Georgia, where he had been Director of the Land Resources division since 2006. Prior to that position, he had worked for the Nature Conservancy for 21 years in San Francisco, Seattle, and Atlanta.

“Cyndi and Bob have had a tremendous and important impact on this organization,” said Kay. “When they began, The Trust for Public Land was much smaller and they have been two of our most critical leaders in guiding us to where we are today. They were very effective and were two of the leaders in mentoring and guiding our staff in the past two decades.

Christman spent 13 years with the Federal Home Loan Bank system, serving as Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Pa, and President and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Since 2009, he has been Executive Director of the Livable Communities Coalition of Atlanta, which is a regional non-profit coalition of more than 50 organizations which are working on smart growth, sustainable development and transportation policy in the metro Atlanta region.

Previously, his career had been spent in urban redevelopment, economic development, and land conservation, with positions as Secretary of Commerce for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Executive Director for Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevlopment Authority. Mr. Christman began his career with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a land conservation organization. He has a Master’s Degree in urban planning from the University of Pittsburgh, and a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

Dr. Danter comes to The Trust for Public Land most recently from The Nature Conservancy, where he was the Florida State Director from 2007 to 2011, leading one of the biggest offices in one of the world’s largest conservation organizations. Previously, he had been TNC’s Alabama Director from 2002 to 2007.

He received his PhD in Ecological Management Communications from the Ohio State University. Earlier, he had received his Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Ohio State University, and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the same university. The Trust for Public Land is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, and wilderness areas. Since it was founded in 1972, TPL has become the nation’s leader in creating urban parks around the nation, and in creating local public funding for conservation. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.