MN: Landwehr names ‘leadership team’
St. Paul – Former state Sens. Dennis Frederickson and Bob
Lessard were among two of the DNR leadership appointments
Commissioner Tom Landwehr announced Tuesday.
Shortly after his appointment by Gov. Mark Dayton, Landwehr made
Dave Schad his deputy commissioner. During the past month, they’ve
worked to round out the agency’s “leadership team.”
“It is, from many standpoints I think, just a really solid team
that helps us deal with the magnitude of the charge of the DNR,”
Those people are:
• Mary McConnell – assistant commissioner for legal and government
affairs. She worked previously in senior positions at Polaris
Industries, Inc., and Genmar.
• Erika Rivers – assistant commissioner for customer relations and
outreach. She’s been with the DNR for seven years, most recently as
project manager for the Lake Vermilion State Park
• Mike Carroll – assistant commissioner for field operations and
community outreach. He’s a longtime DNR employee who previously was
Northwest Region director, and Forestry Division director.
• Frederickson, a Republican state senator from New Ulm for 30
years, becomes the Southern Region director. He was involved in
environment and natural resources during his legislative
“He knows what is important to people in southern Minnesota, and he
knows conservation,” Landwehr said.
• Keith Parker – Central Region director. He’s a media and
community relations professional who previously worked at Twin
Cities Public Television.
(Craig Engwall remains the Northeast Region director; the Northwest
Region director position currently is vacant.)
• Chris Niskanen – communications director. He’s been an outdoors
writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press for the past 17 years.
Niskanen “will bring a new perspective,”and, among other tasks,
“get the word out about the work of the DNR,” Landwehr said.
Colleen Coyne, who currently holds the position, will remain in the
agency. She’ll be responsible for the day-to-day management of the
Information and Education Bureau, Landwehr said.
• Bob Meier – special assistant to the commissioner for legislative
affairs. He had been assistant commissioner, but his role is
largely the same in that he’ll be the agency’s legislative point
• Lessard, who during his 26 years as a northern Minnesota
legislator was involved with environment and natural resources
matters, is new special assistant to the commissioner for community
Landwehr noted Lessard’s experience working with hunting and
fishing groups, northern counties, and timber and mining interests,
and said he’ll spend most of his time on the road “listening to
• Laurie Martinson, who was deputy commissioner, is director of the
new Division of Operations Services.
• Larry Kramka, who was an assistant commissioner, is now director
of the Division of Lands and Minerals.
• Ed Boggess is the new director of the Fish and Wildlife Division.
He has served in that role on an acting basis since Schad became
The other division directors – Jim Konrad (Enforcement), Steve
Hirsch (Ecological and Water Resources), Courtland Nelson (Parks
and Trails), and Dave Epperly (Forestry) – remain the same.