Former L.L. Bean executive Andy Beahm has been selected as executive director of Maine Audubon, the conservation group announced Monday.

He is the group’s third executive director since 2014. Beahm had served as Maine Audubon’s interim director since January, when Ole Amundsen III resigned for personal reasons after serving for less than a year.

Beahm, who has been on Maine Audubon’s board of directors since 2009, retired in December after 34 years at L.L. Bean. He worked in a number of leadership roles, most recently as the vice president of business transformation. He also served as Bean’s vice president of internal audit and the vice president of brand services and the director of strategic planning.

That experience, Beahm said, will help Maine Audubon to become an organization that better informs and engages a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts.

“Maine Audubon is a great organization and it couldn’t be any more important than right now,” said Beahm, who developed a passion for the outdoors as a child while growing up in Limestone in Aroostook County. “What I want to do is augment what we’re doing. We’re going to work on getting the word out to people so they know if there is something going on (at Gilsland Farm), and also what is important to us as an organization.

“From a marketing standpoint, right now we have a lot to do. But we’ve been working very hard. Eventually I want people to immediately think: ‘What’s going on at Maine Audubon?’ And they will always go check knowing there is always great stuff going on here.”

Beahm plans to attract a wider audience beyond Maine Audubon’s 10,000 members by mixing conservation lessons with “Maine lifestyle events,” such as those that incorporate music and art.

In the six months Beahm has led Maine Audubon, he said there has been growth. The attendance for nonprofit group’s recent Peony Bloom and Ice Cream Social tripled from 200 last year to 600. The group’s annual native plant sale is expanding from 400 plants last year to 1,600 that are expected to be sold Saturday.

Stacy Stitham, the board’s vice chair, said recent turnover in leadership has not hurt the organization because of a veteran staff that provided direction. She believes Beahm will extend the organization’s reach.

“Obviously it’s been difficult for the organization, but for those executive directors it came down to a personal choice,” Stitham said.

“In Andy’s short time at Maine Audubon, he’s brought wonderful organizational skills, and his passion for projects and reaching out and forging alliances. He has really proven his dedication to the organization and he’s seen it as a board member and as staff. Everyone who volunteers their time at Maine Audubon loves Maine Audubon, but Andy is a cut above that. I think it’s an excellent time to watch him try to make Maine Audubon an environmental leader in a time of great uncertainty.”

Beahm also has served on the board of directors at a number of nonprofits, including the Cancer Community Center in South Portland and Greater Portland Big Brothers/Big Sisters, of which he is a founding trustee.

He has always led an active, outdoor lifestyle, something he said is key to appreciating Maine’s vast natural resources.

“First of all, I’m a Maine native,” Beahm said. “I grew up outdoors. And (Limestone) was not a wealthy town, it wasn’t a poor town, but I felt very wealthy from the standpoint of the outdoor landscape up there. It is absolutely amazing.”

Ted Koffman, who retired in 2014 after five years as Maine Audubon’s executive director, said there is no doubt Beahm will lead Maine Audubon to a promising new chapter.

“He was at L.L. Bean for years. That’s a pretty successful organization,” Koffman said. “And he worked his way up. When you’re with him his manner is so gentle and respectful and he’s very accessible. And he has a real sense that at Maine Audubon, the Maine is critical in terms of branding, if you want to call it that. In Maine we have some of the most significant and magnificent and diverse landscape. Maine Audubon’s mission is central to preserving that landscape along with other organizations.”

After Koffman retired, Charles Gauvin served as Maine Audubon’s executive director from August 2014 to January 2016. Gauvin, the former president and CEO of Virginia-based Trout Unlimited, was replaced by Amundsen, who served from March to December 2016, before resigning because of the commute to Maine Audubon in Falmouth from his family’s home in Waterville. Amundsen previously worked for the national land trust The Conservation Fund.

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph