LGA Board Elects Dr. John E. Kelly III as Chair, Reinforcing Its Commitment to Science-Based Protection of the Lake

June 4, 2024

LAKE GEORGE — The Board of Directors of the Lake George Association (LGA) has elected John E. Kelly III, Ph.D., retired IBM executive vice president and a co-founder of The Jefferson Project on Lake George, as Chair. 

Dr. Kelly succeeds Peter Menzies, who completed his most recent two-year term as Chair. Mr. Menzies, who has been a member and leader of the LGA for more than 30 years, continues as a member of the LGA Board of Directors. He also recently served as the LGA’s acting executive director. 

Dr. Kelly is a globally respected technology leader who retired as an executive vice president of IBM in 2020 after a distinguished 40-year career. He is recognized for his leadership of the team that developed the IBM supercomputer Watson, an early application of AI that famously answered questions on the popular quiz show Jeopardy! and beat the top human competitors. 

John E. Kelly III

Dr. John E. Kelly III

Throughout his career at IBM, Dr. Kelly was recognized for his commitment to harnessing the power of technology to create a better, more sustainable, more humane world. Under Dr. Kelly’s leadership, IBM was the leader in obtaining U.S. patents for more than a quarter- century. Among his many roles, he served as senior vice president of IBM Research, where he led 12 labs on six continents; senior vice president of cognitive solutions; and chairman of the IBM Academy of Technology. 

Dr. Kelly earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Union College, a Master of Science degree in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and a Doctorate in materials engineering from RPI. He has also received three honorary Doctoral degrees. He currently serves as chair of the RPI Board of Trustees and is a former chair and a life member of the Board of Trustees of Union College. Dr. Kelly is the only person ever to chair both the Union College and the RPI Boards of Trustees.

An Albany native, Dr. Kelly has been coming to Lake George since childhood. He and his wife Honey-Jo make their home on Assembly Point. His lifelong love affair with the Lake and innate interest in science and technology led him to seek out a deeper understanding of the science underlying the Lake’s natural beauty and sustainability and to bring IBM on board as a founding collaborator with the LGA and RPI in The Jefferson Project, the groundbreaking environmental monitoring and research project that has made Lake George “The World’s Smartest Lake.” 

“Lake George has given me and my family decades of enjoyment and fond memories, and it is my great pleasure to give back to the Lake through my role as a Director and now as Chair of the LGA,” Dr. Kelly said. “This Lake is an amazing ecological and human success story. The water quality of Lake George remains among the best in the world because of its own natural mechanisms and the people who love and protect it. But the challenges are real and daunting — from harmful algal blooms, stormwater, and wastewater to road salt and aquatic invasive species. We cannot let down our guard, and the LGA, with its combination of science, technology, and education, is committed to doing all we can to help protect and perpetuate this success story for generations to come.” 

Dr. Kelly said: “Over the past several years, Pete Menzies has led the LGA through such noteworthy achievements as the successful merger of the LGA and Fund for Lake George, the creation of our Lake Protection program, growth of our financial endowment, and the revitalization of our Floating Classroom. He has guided us in confronting many lake protection challenges. Lake George and the LGA are better off because of his devotion to the best interests of Lake George, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him and our entire board for the protection of this Lake we all hold so dear.” 

Mr. Menzies has served as an LGA volunteer and Board member for more than 30 years. He and his family own a home on Northwest Bay and split their time between the Lake and their home in Westchester County, where they own a bookstore and café. Prior to opening the Katonah Reading Room, Mr. Menzies worked for many years as a producer and director of television programming for MTV and other national cable networks. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Art History from Colgate University, and a Master’s Degree in Media Ecology from New York University. 

“To have served three terms as Chair of the LGA has been a great honor, and I look forward to continuing my service as Immediate Past Chair and Board member in the years ahead,” Mr. Menzies said. “The work of protecting Lake George is never done. We have many challenges ahead of us to ensure that Lake George retains its legendary water quality and remains a place where families from around the world come for recreation, relaxation, renewal, and memory-making. The LGA is up for the challenge. Along with people and businesses from across the region, we will protect Lake George together.”