Secretary's DirectorsDNR secretary's directors support regional opportunities
DNR's secretary's director's serve as the department's eyes, ears and voice throughout the state, ensuring prompt attention to local issues and improved responsiveness to opportunities.
The five secretary's directors act with the full authority of DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to build relationships, resolve challenges for DNR customers and integrate citizen feedback to improve service. The secretary's directors have offices in northern, northeastern, west central, south central and southeastern Wisconsin.
In addition to directing staff, managing activities and making decisions on key issues within a geographic area, the secretary's director's work with local legislators, municipal executives and business leaders to advance the department's mission and vision. Through collaboration with appropriate program administrators, they also take the lead on establishing single points of contact on projects with challenges that span multiple division programs.
Work Station: Fitchburg Service Center
Counties served: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Grant, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and Sauk.
Mark Aquino, a manager at DNR since 2001, was named south central region director in October 2011. Aquino started his career with the state in 1988 as a management analyst at the Legislative Audit Bureau. In 1997, he was promoted to chief of the Department of Transportation’s strategic issues section and he came to DNR in 2001 as land services team leader. He was promoted to south central region land leader in 2005 and deputy land division administrator in 2009. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and economics from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Joe Liebau Jr.
Work Station: Milwaukee Service Center
Counties served: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha.
Joe Liebau Jr. was named southeast secretary's director in September 2016. Before coming to the DNR, Joe worked for WasteCap Resource Solutions for 8 years. During that time he worked as business manager, project manager and executive director. Previous to that Joe worked for Brown County in their Hazardous Waste Department.
Joe grew up working and enjoying life on a small dairy farm in Chilton, Wisconsin. He graduated from St. Norbert's with a Bachelor of Arts degree and earned a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Outside of work, Joe enjoys volunteering for nonprofits and served as Vice-Chair on the Wisconsin Council on Recycling that helped to inform and support the legislature on recycling initiatives. When he can he will try to get away to his woods in northern Wisconsin to hunt or travel abroad to see more of the world.
Work Station: Eau Claire Service Center
Counties served: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.
Dan Baumann started his DNR career in 1992 with the dam safety and floodplain programs. Dan was reassigned in 1996 as a water management engineer out of La Crosse and in 2000, he was selected to be the basin leader for the Bad Axe-La Crosse Basin. Dan was promoted to the regional water leader position in November 2003 and began working out of Eau Claire. Since 2012, he has been secretary’s director for the 19 counties of west central Wisconsin.
Dan earned a degree in civil and environmental engineering from UW Madison and holds his professional engineer certification. Dan retired from active duty and National Guard service in 2002, specializing in reconnaissance and combat engineering. Dan is a native of Muscoda, where he grew up working on a dairy farm and spent lots of time on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. In his spare time, Dan enjoys hunting, fishing and trapping as well as spending time doing anything outdoors. Dan, his wife and three daughters live in Eau Claire.
Work Station: Spooner Service Center
Counties served: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn, Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas.
John Gozdzialski became director of the DNR's 18-county northern region in 2004. A 34-year veteran of the department, he last served as the region's water division leader. John began his career as a limited-term employee environmental specialist in his hometown of Milwaukee and spent many years in the water regulation and zoning program, first as a specialist at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area, then as northwest district supervisor in Spooner. He served as the St. Croix Basin water supervisor and also worked as a special conservation warden.
John holds a bachelor's degree in botany and conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Among his many career accomplishments, John headed the Northern Initiatives Lakes and Shorelands Project involving partnerships with private, public and nonprofit entities. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys hunting, fishing and other activities with his three sons and wife, Cheryl.
Work Station: Green Bay Service Center
Counties served: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.
Jean Romback-Bartels was appointed northeast director on Oct. 16, 2011. She started her career with DNR in 1993 as a limited-term employee wildlife technician at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area and full-time park ranger later that year at Blue Mound State Park. She was promoted through a number of jobs including manager at Potawatomi State Park (1997), land and forestry basin Leader in Shawano (2001) and regional land leader in northeast Wisconsin (2002.)
Jean holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in wildlife and biology, and a minor in natural resources management (1989.) In her spare time she enjoys life with her husband Dave and her array of animals, including chows, cats and laying hens. Jean is an avid angler and deer hunter and enjoys canning fruits and vegetables.