Michigan DNR names Bill O’Neill deputy director

Bill O'Neill has more than 31 years of experience with the DNR. (Michigan DNR)

Michigan DNR Director Keith Creagh today announced that Bill O’Neill has been named natural resources deputy for the agency, effective Sunday, Aug. 13.

Bill Moritz, current natural resources deputy, is leaving his position with the DNR to work for the Wildlife Management Institute.

O’Neill has more than 31 years of experience with the DNR. Since January 2012, he has served as chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, except for a brief stint in early 2016 when – on an interim basis – he took on the role of resources deputy while Moritz filled in as DNR director during Creagh’s assignment at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

While with the DNR, O’Neill has taken on many roles, including Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps camp director, land manager for several forest management units, district manager for the Eastern Lower Peninsula District and FRD field coordinator, administering the largest state forest system in the continental United States. Each position offered opportunities to collaborate across department divisions, as well as the chance to build relationships with external partners and organizations.

As DNR natural resources deputy, O’Neill will administer the divisions that oversee Michigan’s wildlife and fisheries, state forests and state parks, minerals and law enforcement.

O’Neill currently serves as president of the Northeast Area Association of State Foresters, is on the National Association of State Foresters executive board, and is a Department of Forestry board member at both Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University. His past affiliations include the Wildlife Society (member), the Montmorency Soil and Water Conservation District (board of directors) and the Huron Shores Writing Institute (board of directors).

O’Neill earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a master’s degree in forestry with an emphasis on business management from Michigan State University.

Until a permanent replacement is named as chief of the Forest Resources Division, DNR Regional Initiatives Deputy Marc Miller will serve as the division’s interim chief, in addition to his other duties.

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