Dennis Creech, co-founder and executive director of Southface, the Southeast’s nonprofit leader in promoting sustainable homes, workplaces and communities, has announced plans to step down from his role this summer. The Southface Board of Directors has been working with Creech on the transition.
“While it’s always a challenge when an iconic leader like Dennis leaves an organization, the timing is right for this transition,” says Charles Whatley, former Southface board chair now serving as chairman of the search committee. “The Board has been working with Dennis and senior staff members on a transition plan for several years now, and Southface is in terrific shape to be writing its next chapter.”
In 2014, Creech received the Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing for his tireless efforts to move sustainability into the marketplace. Under Creech’s leadership, Southface has grown to encompass a staff of 50 that provides research, advocacy, and technical assistance benefitting more than 40,000 homeowners and building professionals each year. Its Greenprints conference draws 300-plus attendees annually, and the Southface Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Training Center in Atlanta and other off-site training programs educate about 4,500 builders and subcontractors a year in dozens of categories including BPI and RESNET certification, energy auditing, and Energy Star.
But perhaps the group’s most visible contribution to high-performance building is EarthCraft. Developed with the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, it is the go-to green building standard in the Southeast and boasts more than 27,000 certified projects.
A new leadership structure and several significant funding commitments add to the sense that the time is right for this hand-off. “Over the past 24 months we have been working internally to strengthen our organization—from the quality of our programs to management systems. The team managing the day-to-day operations for Southface is top notch,” says Creech. “The next leader will be heading up a best-in-class organization with a network of engaged partners and supporters.”
“Southface’s mission remains steadfast,” says board chair, Linda Bolan. “Our broader vision for a regenerative economy, responsible resource use, social equity and a healthy built environment for all allows the next leader to honor Dennis’ legacy while putting his or her perspective on future work.”