DNR leadership team largely in place with second round of appointments

The Minnesota DNR on Monday, Feb. 4 announced its second round of leadership appointments, the DNR said in a news release.

DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen announced the appointment of Shannon Lotthammer as assistant commissioner, overseeing the divisions of Forestry, Parks and Trails and Operations Services. Lotthammer comes to the DNR from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, where she served as assistant commissioner for water policy and the agency’s agricultural and tribal liaison.

Strommen also announced that most of agency’s current regional and division leadership will remain, reflecting a strong team that has “a great deal of experience, a diversity of views, and a wide range of backgrounds.”

The DNR’s four regional directors and five of the agency’s seven division directors will continue in their roles. The regional directors who have been reappointed are Rita Albrecht, northwest region (Bemidji); Patty Thielen, northeast region (Grand Rapids); Keith Parker, central region (St. Paul); and Scott Roemhildt, southern region (New Ulm).

Division directors who will stay in their current roles are Ecological and Water Resources Director Steve Colvin; Enforcement Director Rodmen Smith; Forestry Director Forrest Boe; Operations Services Director Laurie Martinson; and Parks and Trails Director Erika Rivers.

Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Leach, after a 37-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and nearly three years in his current role at the DNR, has decided to transition from the DNR into retirement, according to the release.

Lands and Minerals Director Jess Richards was recently named as an assistant commissioner, therefore the agency will be filling director positions in both the Fish and Wildlife and Lands and Minerals divisions.

Strommen said Grant Wilson will fill in as the interim director of the Fish and Wildlife Division when Jim Leach retires in mid-February. Wilson is currently the division’s policy and planning supervisor. Susan Damon will fill in as interim director of the Lands and Minerals Division; she is currently an assistant director of the division.

Strommen said Sherry Enzler, the agency’s current general counsel, and Chris Niskanen, the agency’s chief communications officer, will also remain with the agency in their current roles.

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