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DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp names agency’s senior management team
News Release Published: January 18, 2011 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Laurel Steffes, (608)266-8109
MADISON – Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp announced that six long-time DNR employees are among seven appointments to her senior management team.
“I believe in this agency,” Stepp said. “We have the best and the brightest in state government right here. There is strength in picking leaders from within with knowledge of the agency and established respect by both employees and externals. I am proud of the strong team we’ve assembled,” she said.
Stepp announced that former DNR Deputy Secretary Al Shea will play a major role in her administration. “Al Shea will be in a newly created position as the fourth member of the Secretary's Office. He will be taking the agency lead on business support, organizational effectiveness and sustainability.” She noted more information on this new role will be forthcoming.
Stepp named the following to head up DNR’s six divisions:
- Kurt Thiede, Division of Land. As administrator, Thiede, 38, will lead DNR’s Parks and Recreation, Wildlife Management, Endangered Resources, and Facilities and Lands programs, including acquisition of state recreational land. He is a 12-year veteran of DNR, serving as a wildlife biologist and wildlife regulations specialist. For four years he served as the agency’s liaison to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and most recently as the Southern Wisconsin customer service supervisor. He also coordinated the Deer 2000 project for DNR and is an avid hunter and angler. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in biology and wildlife management.
- Tim Lawhern, Division of Enforcement and Science. As administrator, Lawhern, 56, will oversee Wisconsin’s conservation warden force, the Office of Energy and Environmental Analysis, Science Services research and lab certification programs. Lawhern has been a conservation warden with DNR for 22 years, for the past 17 years as administrator of the Hunter Education Program in which he managed more than 5,600 volunteer hunter safety instructors, the largest volunteer instructor corps in North America. He holds a degree in education from Tennessee Tech University, is a gunsmith, life-long hunter and angler, and accomplished musician.
- Julie Sauer, Division of Customer and Employee Services (CAES). As administrator, Sauer, 51, will oversee DNR’s Licensing and Customer Services, information technology, grants, finance, human resources and communications functions. Sauer is a 20-year state employee, the last 11 at DNR. Early in her state career, she served as a field services supervisor at the Department of Transportation. At DNR, she supervised all CAES functions for DNR’s Northern Region, in 2007 was acting Human Resources director and most recently is section chief in Management and Budget. She holds a B.S. in Social Work and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
- Bruce Baker, Division of Water. Baker, 60, was appointed to oversee DNR’s Fisheries Management, Drinking and Groundwater, and Watershed Management programs. Baker has 28 years of experience with DNR water programs including 11 years as Water Resources Bureau director and 12 years as deputy administrator of the Water Division. He has worked with the paper industry as the Project Manager for the Fox River PCB cleanup and participated in the development of the Great Lakes Compact with other Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces. Baker came to DNR from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region V. He has a B.S. in Civil and Environmental engineering the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is originally from west central Wisconsin.
- Paul DeLong, Division of Forestry. DeLong, 47, was reappointed to oversee DNR’s forestry functions, which are responsible for programs to protect and sustainably manage Wisconsin’s 16 million acres of forest land and millions of urban trees. Fire control and state forests are administered by the division. Delong, an 18-year DNR veteran, was first appointed administrator and Wisconsin’s chief state forester in 2003. Prior to that, he served as deputy administrator, and a state lands and recreation specialist. He holds a B.A in Forestry from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, a Masters of Science in Natural Resources Policy from the University of Michigan and is a certified forester.
- Pat Stevens, Division of Air and Waste. Stevens, 49, new to DNR, will oversee Air Management, Waste and Materials Management, Remediation and Redevelopment and Cooperative Environmental Management, including Green Tier, programs. Stevens brings 17 years of experience with DNR programs as general counsel for the Wisconsin Builders Association, counsel for the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and environmental policy director for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. In these roles, he collaborated with DNR and others on the development of a number of DNR rules. In other experience, Stevens served as Assistant Attorney General in North Dakota from 1988-92, working with the Natural Resources and Indian Affairs Division and Tax Commissioner’s Office. He holds a B.A in business management from Arizona State University and a law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Al Shea, 57, started with the state in 1980, working with the Department of Administration’s Coastal Management program. He joined the DNR in 1984 as the department’s first Great Lakes policy analyst and became lead budget analyst in the Bureau of Management and Budget in 1990. He was named director of the Bureau of Watershed Management in 1997, and in September, 2003 became administrator of the Air and Waste Division, a post he held until August of 2010 when he was appointed Deputy Secretary. Shea holds a B.S. in geography from SUNY-Brockport and an M.S. in water resources management from UW-Madison. He is an avid walleye angler, bow hunter and amateur ornithologist.
The six administrators will be starting their new positions over the next two weeks. Earlier this month, Stepp announced her choice for Deputy Secretary, Waukesha Attorney Matt Moroney, and for Executive Assistant, Scott Gunderson, 16-year 83rd Assembly District Representative. All appointees will receive the same salary as their predecessors.