Florida’s former Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam has accepted an offer to become the Chief Executive Officer of Ducks Unlimited, a worldwide leader in wetlands conservation. The group is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee and focuses on preserving wetlands and waterfowl populations through strategic partnerships with scientific communities, landowners, private individuals and other entities. It is unclear if Putnam will move to Tennessee to take the position.
The move puts Putnam’s once-promising political career on hold in exchange for a potentially lucrative career in the private sector. One year ago, Putnam was considered a frontrunner to win the Republican nomination for Florida governor and held a substantial fundraising advantage over Ron DeSantis, who eventually prevailed over Putnam and went on to win the general election.
Putnam brings a mix of relevant experience to Ducks Unlimited, which will rely heavily on the former elected official’s full breadth of experience, including his stint navigating Washington D.C. as one of the youngest members ever elected to Congress, his role on the Florida Cabinet, his work with Florida farmers, hunters and agricultural communities, and his fundraising experience as a two-time statewide candidate in one of the nation’s most critical swing states.
Of note, Putnam will join another Florida alum, former Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Nick Wiley, who currently serves as Ducks Unlimited’s Chief Conservation Officer. Wiley worked closely with Putnam during their overlapping tenures in Florida and Wiley will likely continue in that role for the foreseeable future under Putnam.
Ducks Unlimited is a private non-profit with a stated mission to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. Operations in the United States include the Ducks Unlimited national headquarters in Memphis, and 15 regional and field offices throughout the country. The group also maintains affiliated programs through sister organizations in Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
Update: The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story up now:
Ducks Unlimited announced Putnam’s hiring on Wednesday morning and said Hall will continue to work until June 30 to help with the transition.
Considered one of the nation’s largest conservation philanthropies, DU relies on donations and grants to fund its $220 million annual budget.