Connecting People with Land Program Associate

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

Asheville , North Carolina

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is an established land trust serving a 10-county region in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Since 1974, we have conserved 70,000 acres of the region’s most important lands.

SAHC recently adopted a strategic goal of Connecting People with Land, to advance opportunities for people to gain access to land for farming, outdoor recreation, and outreach in support of SAHC’s conservation mission. We have appointed a Connecting People with Land Committee consisting of SAHC Trustees and other volunteers, which helps guide our activities furthering the goal.

We are implementing various programs to connect people with land, ranging from helping qualified farmers secure land to farm to improving facilities at SAHC-owned properties for people to visit and stay overnight, in order to enjoy outdoor recreation for their health, fitness and wellbeing.

We aim to utilize several of our properties to produce income, in order to offset some of the costs of owning, managing, and making SAHC preserves and farmland available for people to experience. A key element of this strategy is short-term rental of certain SAHC facilities. We have an immediate need for a Program Associate to implement our strategic goal of Connecting People with Land.

Description: 30-hour/week full time with benefits. The Connecting People with Land Program Associate (“Program Associate”):

  • Works closely with SAHC’s Associate Director, Executive Director and other SAHC staff and contractors to manage SAHC properties and facilities, make necessary improvements, develop and operate SAHC’s short-term vacation rental program, weddings and other special events program, and coordinate hospitality for visitors to ensure they have an overall positive experience.
  • Is supervised by SAHC’s Associate Director.
  • Participates as a team member with other SAHC staff.
  • Works on location at SAHC facilities and at SAHC’s Asheville NC office.

Responsibilities: The Program Associate works collaboratively with the Associate Director and other staff to:

Plan, arrange, and oversee improvements at SAHC Community Farm events venue and nature preserves, and manage these properties for listing as short-term vacation rentals, weddings and other special events:

  • Assist with evaluating structures at nine (9) SAHC properties. Make decisions in coordination with SAHC staff on how to meet program goals, and implement best options. SAHC potentially may acquire additional properties.
  • Oversee making necessary repairs to facilities.
  • Obtain furniture for facilities as needed.
  • Improve yards and grounds at facilities, and arrange for ongoing mowing, weed-eating, invasive plants removal, and other grounds management.
  • Identify contractors where needed, review plans and costs with SAHC Associate Director, and oversee work.
  • SAHC’s Community Farm is a high initial priority for the position. This includes completion of the education center, kitchen, outdoor events venue and furnishing the residence for overnight guests.
  • Recruit a caretaker/farmer/host for SAHC’s Robinson Rough preserve and other preserves as needed.
  • Develop hiking and other recreational experiences for visitors to the preserves.
  • Oversee removal of one or more non-performing structures if appropriate and cost-effective

Create and implement programs for short-term vacation rentals and weddings/special events.

  • Advertise SAHC’s short-term vacation rental at the Community Farm and other preserves.
  • Develop program for weddings and other special events at the Community Farm.
  • Determine how to manage rental calendar.
  • Evaluate options and implement best options for cleaning between rentals, ongoing repairs and maintenance of the properties, and other aspects of property management.
  • Initiate process of short-term rental of SAHC facilities at other preserves in the Highlands of Roan.

Manage process of making improvements to SAHC’s office building and ongoing maintenance of the office.

Work cooperatively with, and maintain good communications with other staff and Board members.

  • Serve as staff liaison to SAHC’s Connecting People with Land
  • Perform other responsibilities and activities as deemed appropriate by the Executive Director and Associate Director.

Necessary Skills:

  • A background in hospitality, events planning, marketing, project-management, and contracting. Experience with short-term vacation rentals preferred.
  • Computer skills – on-line advertising and social media experience focused on marketing.
  • Experience developing work plans and project budgets, securing revenue sources to meet budgets, and managing projects.
  • Close attention to detail and accuracy, with strong organizational abilities. Ability to complete projects within deadline and established budget.
  • Tact and strong diplomacy skills. Talent for maintaining forward momentum in delicate situations.
  • Ability and willingness to work and complete physically strenuous tasks in the field, in variable and sometimes poor weather conditions.
  • Persistence, sense of humor, and entrepreneurial spirit. Ability to balance and pursue multiple projects simultaneously. High tolerance for meeting competing demands efficiently, without becoming flustered.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including public speaking. Ability to communicate effectively with people, organizations, and agencies. Negotiation skill and experience preferred.
  • Desire and talent for working as part of a team. Enthusiastic, creative, self-motivated individual able to work independently and with coworkers and volunteers, and to motivate these colleagues.
  • Ability and commitment to maintain confidentiality.
  • Valid driver’s license required with acceptable DMV record. Experience driving off-road.
  • Ability to use and trouble-shoot issues with tools and power tools. Experience with construction or coordinating contractors to complete building projects.
  • Experience with landscaping and grounds maintenance or coordination of such work by contractors.
  • Experience building and maintaining trails desired.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

Job Category: 30 hours/week full time employment, with benefits.

Salary: Commensurate with experience and skills.

To Apply: Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume with salary history or salary requirements, and 3 professional references to Kristy Urquhart – kristy@appalachian.org Please include “Connecting People with Land Program Associate” in subject line. No phone calls please. Open until filled. SAHC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.