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Mr. Jon Allan

Senior Advisor,
Senior Academic and Research Program Officer

Jon W. Allan joined the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2019. His work focuses on the enterprise of sustainability across Michigan and the Great Lakes region related to the intersection of ecological, economic, social and cultural value. He seeks to understand and influence the rate at which the region is adopting and implementing the principles of a sustainable and just society.
Jon was previously the 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.
He retired as the Director of the Office of the Great Lakes contributing his considerable experience in science and policy to the office’s mission to protect, restore, and sustain the Great Lakes. Prior to that he served in a number of corporate executive positions at in environmental and energy management, government and regulatory affairs, and strategy development. He has also worked in the non-profit sector and in arts management. He has taught courses in biology, marine zoology and island ecology (along coastal Maine) and environmental impact assessment. He holds a BS degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a Masters in Zoology/Aquatic Ecology from Michigan State University and completed considerable additional graduate work in Environmental Policy and Law also at MSU.
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, governance and policy across the region.
Jon advised during the Great Lakes Compact negotiations and co-chaired the State’s 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 the Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, the Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Environmental Advisory Council for Michigan DEQ and co-chaired the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Parks.
He is currently the U.S. Co-chair of the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Water Quality Board, chairs MSU’s Institute for Water Research Advisory Board, is on the Board of Governors at Cranbrook Institute of Science and chairs its Freshwater Forum and advises many other projects and organizations. Previously Jon chaired the Great Lakes Commission and the Executive Committee of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.
Jon grew up in northern Ohio close to Lake Erie during a time when many of our lakes and rivers were very unhealthy. He has retained a keen interest in addressing a host of freshwater and sustainability challenges. He devotes time to his family, travels extensively, is a longstanding birder, a photographer, a poor substitute for a fly fisherman, and an occasional poet and musician.