William D. Ruckelshaus is currently a Strategic Director in the Madrona Venture Group, formed in 1999 and a principal in Madrona Investment Group, L.L.C. (MIG), a Seattle based investment company, formed in 1996. He was Chairman/CEO of Browning-Ferris Industries from 1988 to 1995 and Chairman from 1995 to 1999.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 24, 1932, Mr. Ruckelshaus graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and obtained his law degree from Harvard University in 1960. He began a career in law with the Indianapolis firm of Ruckelshaus, Bobbitt and O’Connor in 1960 and was associated with the firm for eight years. In addition, he was Deputy Attorney General of Indiana from 1960 through 1965. He was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives and its majority leader from 1967 to 1969. The President appointed him for the years 1969 and 1970 as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Mr. Ruckelshaus became the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s first Administrator when the agency was formed in December 1970, where he served until April 1973. In April 1973 he was appointed acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and in the same year was appointed Deputy Attorney General of the United States Department of Justice. He resigned from that post rather than fire the Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.
From 1974 through 1976, Mr. Ruckelshaus was a senior partner in the Washington, DC law firm of Ruckelshaus Beveridge & Fairbanks. He joined Weyerhaeuser Company in Tacoma, Washington as Senior Vice President for Law and Corporate Affairs from 1976 to 1983 and was responsible for policy setting and coordination of the company’s key external relationships and its legal service functions. In 1983, Mr. Ruckelshaus was appointed by President Reagan as the fifth EPA Administrator until 1985. He served until joining Perkins Coie in 1985, a Seattle based law firm.
From July 1997 to July 1998, President Clinton appointed him as the U.S. envoy in the implementing of the Pacific Salmon Treaty and in 1999 he was appointed by Governor Gary Locke as the Chairman of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board for the State of Washington and in May, 2007 appointed by Governor Christine Gregoire as Chairman of the Leadership Council of the Puget Sound Partnership. On June, 2001, he was appointed by President Bush as a member of the Commission on Ocean Policy which was created by Congress in 2000, and 2010, Obama Administration established a new leadership Council, co-chaired by Bill and Norman Mineta. On February, 2012, Gov. Gregoire and NOAA Adm. Dr. Jane Lubchenco appointed Bill as co-chair of the Washington Shellfish Initiative Ocean Acidification Blue Ribbon Panel.
He was formerly on the boards of Isilon Systems, Weyerhaeuser Company, Nordstrom, Inc., Cummins Engine Company, Monsanto Company, Solutia, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., Coinstar, Inc., Pharmacia Corporation and Church & Dwight. Currently, he serves on the board of Long Live the Kings, Meridian Institute and The Energy Foundation. He is the founding Director and Board member of the Initiative for Global Development and Chairs the William D. Ruckelshaus Center, a joint effort of the University of Washington and Washington State University to help the state solve problems using collaborative processes. He is a Board Emeritas member of World Resources Institute and the University of Wyoming, Ruckelshaus Center.