Darren Nichols – Executive Director
Darren Nichols is the executive director of the Great Lakes Commission and is inspired daily by its mission to ensure a healthy environment, strong economy and high quality of life for current and future generations. Prior to joining the GLC he served as executive director of the Columbia River Gorge Commission, associate director of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center for collaborative public policy, and a statewide manager for Oregon’s land use planning program. Nichols also previously served as executive fellow with the Center for Governance and Public Policy at Willamette University’s Atkinson School of Management, and as adjunct faculty at Portland State University’s School of Urban Studies and Planning.
Nichols joined the Commission in 2018, continuing his passion to help people and communities work together to solve problems and capture opportunities. He brings experience in regional planning, resource conservation, collaborative facilitation, economic and community development and construction contracting. Nichols has worked extensively with local, state, federal and tribal governments as they wrestle with natural resource and economic development issues.
Nichols holds a Bachelor of Science in business economics from Willamette University, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University, and a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College.
Darren and his wife Mona are proud to raise three energetic boys in and around the Great Lakes basin.