Dunlap Is a New Voice for Maine Sportsmen
When the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine announced last week that former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap had been hired as the organization’s new executive director, many in and outside the State House breathed a sigh of relief.
While many asked what happened to Tim Bell, SAM’s executive director since October 1, 2011, I’ve been very circumspect in my responses, out of respect and concern for the organization I led for eighteen years.
The kindest thing I can say is Tim Bell wasn’t a good match for the job. My years in the SAM job taught me many lessons, not the least of which is this: SAM’s executive director must have a very thick skin and be able to juggle many tasks.
As a two-person organization, with an executive director and office manager, SAM requires many skills in its leader, including fundraising, grassroots organizing, lobbying, writing, speaking, and more.
Here’s how an ad for the position put it last fall: The successful candidate’s background should include the skills and experience to accomplish the following: legislative and agency lobbying, fundraising, membership recruitment and retention, strategic planning, advocacy in many different settings, public speaking, writing and publishing, website management and use (including on-line retail sales), event management, financial management including budget preparation, staff supervision, political campaigns (candidate and referenda), Conference Center management.
It’s no wonder that very few applied during two different search processes between June and October of 2010.
SAM is very lucky that Matt Dunlap was available and willing to tackle this tough assignment. He has all the necessary skills and is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats at the State House where SAM’s strength is most evident.
He served four terms in the House of Representatives and led the legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee as House chair for his last three terms. He sponsored many SAM bills during that time and did so with great skill and passion.
After getting term-limited out of the legislature, he was elected by the legislature to be Maine’s Secretary of State where he demonstrated his considerable organizational and management skills.
He hunts deer, bear, ducks, and more, loves to fish, and can be counted on to do as much “field research” as the job will allow. His favorite hunting partner is his young daughter Emily. His wife, Michelle, is a strong partner who supports Matt’s work.
For the last year and a half Dunlap served on SAM’s Board of Directors, getting an insider’s look at the organization. He has represented SAM on the Keeping Maine’s Forests initiative to make sure that deer habitat and sportsmen’s access was a priority. He served on the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Smelt Task Force last year to emphasize SAM’s interest in the future success of our coldwater fisheries.
He has written a column in the Northwoods Sporting Journal for many years and was a founder of the Maine Youth Fish and Game Association, Maine’s only sporting club for youth.
He also has the respect of Maine’s new IF&W Commissioner, Chandler Woodcock, who also sponsored SAM’s bills during his tenure in the Senate. They will work well together.
This is a time of unprecedented opportunity for Maine sportsmen. It’s good to know that Matt Dunlap will be one of those who lead the way.