ORCAA Board Announces New Executive Director

The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA) proudly announces the hiring of Dr. Jeffrey Johnston, Ph.D., as the agency’s new Executive Director.

Johnston’s experience as a Section Manager at the Washington Department of Ecology – including seven years managing the Science and Engineering section of the Air Quality Program – combined with his educational and work background, will help ensure ORCAA continues to advance its mission of promoting clean, healthful air for all residents of its jurisdiction.

Johnston will assume the responsibilities of Executive Director starting Feb. 1, 2022. The position was made available when the current Executive Director, Fran McNair, announced her retirement. McNair ends a highly successful 13-year term as ORCAA’s Executive in February 2022.

“It was my pleasure to lead the search process to replace Fran McNair,” said Jim Cooper, chair of ORCAA’s Board of Directors. “Because of her steadfast leadership and commitment to air quality, ORCAA has stayed in the forefront of air science as a national leader. Hers are big shoes to fill.”

A nation-wide search was conducted with the assistance of the City of Olympia’s Human Resources Department. The ORCAA Board’s Hiring Committee received dozens of candidates.

“Jeff rose to the top in a very large pool of highly qualified candidates,” Cooper said. “His experience, scientific background, concern for citizens and the environment, and his common-sense approach make him an excellent choice for ORCAA’s next Executive Director. I am excited to have a scientist in this chief role and look forward to seeing where he takes our team in the future.”

Johnston currently serves as the Manager of the Information & Policy Section of the Toxics Cleanup Program at Ecology. Combined with his previous roles there, he has served more than 13 years managing staff and programs at the state agency. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego (1996) and worked as a lecturer and staff at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, prior to moving to western Washington to work for Ecology in 2008.

McNair heartily endorses the hiring decision. “I am very pleased with the ORCAA Board’s choice of Jeff Johnston as my successor,” she said. “I will be retiring after 13 incredible years leading a staff of bright, motivated, and talented professionals who work tirelessly to protect the air quality in our six-county region.”

McNair plans to stay on at ORCAA during a brief transition period in February to help ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities. “I am pleased to work with Jeff as he transitions into this new role and wish him great success,” McNair added.

Johnston brings a high level of training, skills, and experience to ORCAA. “I’m excited for the opportunity to draw upon both my academic and professional experiences as the next ORCAA Executive Director,” he said. “I’m honored to have been selected for this important position, and I look forward to working with both the Board of Directors and the ORCAA team to continue and elevate the work of the agency.”


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Media Contact

Dan Nelson

Communications/Outreach Manager