Signal Mountain resident Rick Huffines is the newly appointed executive director of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, an organization that aims to enrich the community through conservation of the gorge, education and promoting good land stewardship.
Huffines came to TRGT after his retirement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for which he served 26 years.
"I loved everything about my job, but I thought it would be a good time to try something different," he said.
Huffines found out about the open position at TRGT in June 2012, and was interviewed and selected in November before retiring from his post with the Fish and Wildlife Service in December.
"I'm a native Tennessean and this was an opportunity for me to come back to Tennessee and give back through conservation here in my home state," said Huffines, who hails from the Nashville area. "I love the mission, and I'm quickly learning to love the people and the community."
He said he found the community-based aspect of TRGT's mission attractive and views himself as a public servant in his new role.
"I spent 26 years in government; to take this next step into the nonprofit side was very intriguing to me," said Huffines.
His goal for the organization moving forward is to listen to the board of directors and members as the 32-year-old organization transitions, he said.
"They've done a phenomenal job with land acquisition, and now we want to put a broader emphasis on stewardship," said Huffines, adding that his professional and management skills should aid him in making the transition.