Chief Executive Officer, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Inc
Dr. Russ Lea has a distinguished history of establishing a clear vision for organizations and using it to implement positive change. He is skilled at procuring and managing funding for large-scale projects and is an experienced scientific and academic researcher.
Dr. Lea joined NEON, Inc. in March 2012 as Chief Executive Officer, where he oversees its key project, the $434M National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON is funded by the National Science Foundation to collect data across the United States on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. It is the first observatory of its kind designed to detect and enable forecasting of ecological change at continental scales over multiple decades.
Prior to joining NEON, Inc., Dr. Lea was vice president for research at the University of South Alabama (USA), where he managed research growth across the institution, including interdisciplinary research efforts, resource development and orchestration of all phases of research administration. Prior to that, he served as vice president for research at the University of North Carolina and associate vice chancellor for research at North Carolina State University.
Before serving in academic administration, Dr. Lea was a professor of forestry, soil science and ecology, and was active in research. He has authored and coauthored numerous publications, journal articles and papers on topics ranging from research funding to environmental science issues, and was active in the establishment of the Society of Ecological Restoration. Dr. Lea holds Ph.D.s from Syracuse University and from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington.
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