Harrison Marks has accepted the position of Executive Director of the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust after serving as Interim Executive Director since September 2022. Long a supporter of the organization, he brings a wealth of experience from a career in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.
A longtime resident of Winston-Salem and New Bern, Marks has a strong connection to the North Carolina coast going back to his youth. “My earliest memories are from family vacations at Nags Head and Kitty Hawk, and being awestruck by the performance of the Lost Colony. I inherited my Dad’s endless pleasure of driving backroads through the pine forests of the coastal plain, and my wife and I are most at home when we have a view of the marsh or the water,” said Marks.
Marks attended Dartmouth College, earning a degree in Biogeography and served as co-chair of the newly formed Environmental Studies Division of the Dartmouth Outing Club. He had a long and successful career as a senior executive for Wachovia Bank, leading multiple departments in several divisions of the company. He went on to serve as Executive Director of Sound Rivers, overseeing the merger of the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and Neuse River Foundation into a new organization.
Marks was an active member of the Coastal Land Trust’s Finance Committee for many years before joining the board of directors in 2021. He stepped into the role of Interim Executive Director in September 2022, taking a leave of absence from the board. During that time, Marks led the organization through the completion of a new Strategic Plan and built strong relationships with the staff, board, partners, and key supporters of the organization.
“Harrison did an outstanding job serving as Interim Executive Director,” said Hal Kitchin, President of the Board of Directors. “He possesses a unique combination of leadership, management, and personal skills that will serve him well as Executive Director. He is the right person to lead the organization as we celebrate 30 years of protecting the lands we all love.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Harrison for many years. He has a deep appreciation for the region, a love of the land and nature, and all of the skills needed to help the organization succeed now and into the future,” said Camilla Herlevich, founder and retired Executive Director of the Coastal Land Trust. “Harrison is one of the kindest and most insightful persons I’ve ever met. I’m confident everyone connected with the Coastal Land Trust will be inspired by his leadership.”
An active out-of-doors person, Marks has been a volunteer with numerous environmental organizations. After stepping down as Executive Director at Sound Rivers, Marks and his wife, Suzie, spent almost two years on their sailboat cruising along the east coast of the US and the Bahamas.
“Harrison has been instrumental in effectively and efficiently leading the staff, strategic planning committee, and Board of Directors for the past six months,” said Bob Emory, Board Vice President and a resident of New Bern. “With his wealth of experience, he will do great things for this organization.”
George Wood, a Board member from Kill Devil Hills, had this observation, “The North Carolina Land Trust seeks to conserve precious coastal ecosystems and manage the lands for future generations. This commitment requires dedicated people with a passion for those lands. We could not be more fortunate than to have Harrison as the Executive Director of the Land Trust as we continue to grow and flourish under his leadership. Our future is very bright.”
“I have long been in awe of all the Coastal Land Trust has accomplished, protecting and stewarding the lands we love at the coast,” Marks said. “I am excited and grateful to have the opportunity and privilege to help conserve important lands and varied landscapes of the coastal plain.”