Jon W. Allan is President and Founder of the Jon W. Allan Group, a private consultancy specializing in strategic insight for freshwater and the Great Lakes, energy and environmental policy and natural resource governance. The Group supports research, analytical insight, regulatory and legislative guidance, and environmental and natural resource management strategies. They focus on the intersection of ecological, economic, social and cultural value(s) of water and natural resources.
He retired in 2019 as the Director of the Office of the Great Lakes contributing his considerable experience in aquatic sciences and fisheries & wildlife to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes watershed. Prior to that position he served in a number of executive management positions at Consumers Energy in environmental and energy management, government and regulatory affairs, and strategy development. He has also worked in the non-profit sector in youth services, and in arts management at Michigan State University. He has taught courses in biology, ecology and environmental impact assessment at his alma mater, Michigan State and with other institutions. He holds an undergraduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a Masters in Zoology from MSU and completed considerable additional graduate work in Environmental Policy and Law.
With nearly four decades of experience he has professionally applied his understanding of ecological systems to a variety of pressing Great Lakes issues.
Jon’s research on wetlands, stream ecology, and water policy has been published in Canada and the U.S. Organizations and individuals rely on his expertise to lead or advise on strategy, environmental planning and policy across the region.
Jon advised during the Great Lakes Compact negotiations and co-chaired the State’s Water Use Advisory Council tasked with the state's strategy and implementation of the Great Lakes Compact. He’s contributed his expertise in a range of roles with the State of Michigan, including with Michigan's Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, the Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Environmental Advisory Council for Michigan DEQ and the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Parks.
Jon chaired the Great Lakes Commission and the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers. He remains a member of the International Joint Commission’s Water Quality Board, chairs MSU’s Institute for Water Research Advisory Board, and serves on the Board of Governors at Cranbrook Institute of Science and chairs its Freshwater Forum and advises other projects and entities.
Jon grew up in northern Ohio close to Lake Erie during a time when many of our lakes and rivers were toxic. Jon has retained a keen interest in addressing Great Lakes and freshwater challenges.
Strategies for community-based cohesion and synchrony
Environmental and Resource Governance
Strategic insight for ecological, economic, social and cultural value of environmental restoration
Natural Resource Management and Strategy
Organizational Development and Culture
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I acquired my perspectives on water in four increments. The first was through experience and play. My dad had a small wooden boat, and we talked, laughed, and fished our way around Lake Erie and the islands. In this context, water was pure joy, play, family, and escape. The second dose came from spending a number of summers at a biological station located on a small island off the Maine coast. My first summer there, at 14 years old, I mapped out the distribution of surface freshwater on this small patch of land. Freshwater here was scarce of course, and we rationed it accordingly. My third set of perspectives came from my professors and classes that sharpened my point of view adding analytical rigor and insight to a set of experiences already gained.
Lastly, I have been a professional and a practitioner in environmental and energy fields and especially in water-related fields now for decades, yet my views continue to grow. And, like I did at 14, I am still engaged in mapping and understanding our collective impact on, and our relationship with, water.
We work across the Great Lakes through and with a myriad of entities, tribes, and first nations, states and provinces, federal governments, industry, and the environmental community to restate the truth that this vast inland sea is of vital worldwide importance to us, to the nation and to the world. It must remain a national priority to restore, protect and manage it wisely. It is stewardship we seek. Whether then as a 200-acre peanut-shaped island surrounded by saltwater or now as twenty percent of the world's surface freshwater.
The legacy of our commitment to natural resources and to water lives in those of us who have built on our experiences, our relationship with water, and those that have learned our lessons and impelled us to engage.
Jon W. Allan