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GLIN==> Great Lakes Commission announces staff leadership change

Great Lakes Commission announces staff leadership change

Mike Donahue concludes two decades of service; Tom Crane appointed interim director


Ann Arbor, Mich. - Dr. Michael J. Donahue, long-standing president/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission, is stepping down from that post to accept a senior executive position in the private sector. Donahue, the longest-serving staff director in Commission history, has moved on to become vice president of URS Corporation, a global consulting firm.

"I can think of no other individual who has had such a profound influence on Great Lakes governance over the past two decades," said Commission Chair Tom Huntley. "As a visionary for the Great Lakes region, Mike has consistently demonstrated a talent for turning ideas into action, and plans into reality. His presence will be missed but his legacy will be a lasting one."

Tom Crane, manager of the Commission's Resource Management Program, has been appointed interim director by the Commission's Board of Directors.

During his tenure with the Commission, Donahue presided over a period in which the Commission grew dramatically in size and capabilities, and assumed a central role in policy research, development and regional coordination; advocacy; and resource management. He is credited with greatly expanding the Commission's research, policy analysis and technical capabilities; securing associate membership for the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec in recognition of the lakes' binational character; and shaping a strong and influential regional voice on federal legislative, appropriations and policy initiatives.

Complementing Donahue's service to the Commission have been appointments to more than a dozen regional, national and international boards, including the International Joint Commission's Science Advisory Board and the Chief of Engineer's (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Environmental Advisory Board. A published author specializing in water resources planning, management and institutional design, Donahue has also been engaged in teaching and research through adjunct professorships at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

"It has been a great privilege to serve this organization for the last two decades and contribute to its growth, development and maturation." Donahue said. "The Commission's role is truly unique: to recognize the complementary nature of environmental and economic goals, and to work toward measurable improvements in the quality of our environment, the health of our economy, and the quality of life of our citizens."

Interim Director Tom Crane is a 19-year veteran of the Commission. Among many other contributions, Crane has led the Commission's decision support initiatives for water resources management, and has designed and implemented programs addressing point and nonpoint source pollution. He will assume the interim director position effective March 1 and will continue in that position as the search process proceeds.

"Tom is an outstanding choice for interim director," said Huntley. "He has a thorough knowledge of this organization, the issues and the Great Lakes community. He has had a major role in the Commission's success over the years, and has served the organization with distinction."

Donahue first joined the organization in 1982, leaving two years later to become U.S. director and head of research at the Chicago-based Center for the Great Lakes. He returned to the Commission in 1987 to take the post of executive director, and was promoted to president/CEO in 2001.

Donahue noted that he will continue to serve the Great Lakes region in his new capacity. As Vice President of URS Corporation, a global leader in planning, design, engineering and architectural services, he will have regional, national and international responsibilities with an emphasis on water resources and other environmental services. URS has 300 offices in 20 countries, and a strong and growing presence in the Great Lakes region. He can be contacted at michael_donahue@urscorp.com.


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by Thomas Huntley (Minn.), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region and its residents. The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials, and governors' appointees from its eight member states. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a "Declaration of Partnership." The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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