Maxwell Ramsey resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he had a thirty-two year career with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), an independent Federal land and water managing agency and the largest single supplier of electricity in the United States. He became skilled in the recreation use of resources; in their conservation and preservation; and in interpretation and marketing. He was Coordinator for TVA recreation interests and also headed the agency's Cultural Resources Program. This program was responsible for archiving TVA history, as well as ensuring the agency's compliance with Federal historic preservation laws.
He came to TVA about the time when the reports and recommendations of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) were released. Max represented TVA on Federal interagency committees which set Federal standards and policies for implementing landmark legislation emanating from the ORRRC reports. Committees included those addressing Wild and Scenic Rivers, national Trails Systems, Federal Recreation Fees, Measuring Recreation Use, and other. He also represented TVA on matters related to the President's Council on Recreation and Natural Beauty during the Lyndon Johnson administration.
Early in his career at TVA, Max was elected to the Board of the National Conference on State Parks (NCSP), a forerunner of the National Society for Park Resources (NRPS), which is a current branch of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). He was on a small committee assigned to come up with a new name for NCSP, which was more indicative of the expanded mission and program of that group. The merger of seven major recreation and park organizations into what became NRPA was a rather stormy but successful time for recreation interests in the U.S. and Max was centrally involved in the merger process. He subsequently became President of NSPR and followed that term with service as representative to the NRPA Board of Trustees, where he was selected to be on their Executive Committee.
Max was elected as a member of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in 1983, two years after its formation. He has served on the AAPRA Board and was active every year on Board committees. He served on the selection committee for the prestigious Pugsley Awards for many years, an award he received himself in 1979, and led an extended effort to develop a "consulting" type service using teams of specifically selected AAPRA member to visit public clients and provide oversight evaluations of their problems. Ramsey has been recognized with seven AAPRA President’s Awards for his special contributions. He continues to work on policy issues involving AAPRA and NRPA. He was added to the AAPRA list of Legends in Park and Recreation Administration in 2002.
Max held other national leadership positions. He wrote the Bylaws for the National Recreation Maintenance/Management School sponsored by North Carolina State University and NRPA, and subsequently served a term as Chairman of the school's Board. For many years, he chaired or co-chaired the Oversight Committee for administering the Park Practice publications program of NRPA and the National Park Service (NPS), and currently works with AAPRA in an effort to restart that now defunct program. He received a special Park Practice award from NPS in 1990 for his leadership in oversight.
He was Vice President of the American Youth Hostels Association in 1981-82 and led their long-range plan efforts. In 1985, he was appointed to the Governor's Commission on Tennesseans Outdoor by then Governor Lamar Alexander. The Tennessee Historical Commission also recognized him for his work on special projects.
Max worked extensively during his career with American Indian tribes and their relationships with TVA, especially the Eastern and Western Cherokee. He helped to found, and subsequently wrote the bylaws for the National Trail of Tears Association. After leaving TVA in 1994, he continued to serve on the Executive Committee of the Association and served on the Secretary of the Interior's Advisory Board on the Trail of Tears. Max has chaired the Board for the Eastern Cherokees' Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Tennessee since its creation in 1995 and continues to lead their efforts in new development projects and programs. In 1984, he received an Ambassadorship from the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. In 2002, he received the Sequoyah Award, given in the form of a resolution jointly passed by the Tribal Councils of the Eastern Band of Cherokees and the Cherokee Nation, and usually reserved for tribal members who have made major contributions to Cherokee cultural and heritage efforts. Hence, this was a unique recognition.
Max is a native Tennessean and received a degree in Social Science and History from Lincoln Memorial University. He did graduate work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in state and regional planning. He is a strong proponent of the need for resource managers to master the art of politics and political savvy in championing support for parks, recreation, historic preservation and related resources. He gave lectures and workshops in the subject and served in an advisory capacity on resource subjects at Lincoln Memorial University, Middle Tennessee State University, North Carolina State University, the University of Tennessee and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
His contributions at the local and community level included chairing the Board of a four-district Methodist Church Camp for 11 years; chairing a large community event within Knoxville for 10 years; working on trails and greenways, a Vice President of Ramsey House Plantation historic site; where he directed and produced an award winning short film on its history, Board Chairman of a large credit union, and involved in other church and politically oriented local efforts.
Upon retirement in 1994, Max formed a sole proprietorship consulting business, Resource Concepts Consulting, which enables him to continue to practice what he preaches.