In director's meetings with Missouri Conservation employees around the state, changing leadership is a key topic. It’s not unique to our agency that baby boomers are of the age of retirement. Seems like not that long ago it was the Age of Aquarius, now it’s the Age of AARP…
Two recent retirements, those of Assistant Director John Smith and Resource Science Chief Dale Humburg, are just the leading edge of changes to come. Something like two-thirds of our leadership can retire in the next five years.
There’s been lots of discussion nationally, too, about the fact that the huge number of baby boomers are followed by a smaller generation. That has implications not only for the pool of new employees but also for the income many agencies derive from hunting and fishing permits. (That will affect Missouri, too, but less here since 60 percent of our income is from sales tax.) In fish, wildlife and forestry agencies, one big concern is that fewer students are also going into these subjects in college. So where will the expertise come from in the future?
On the immediate horizon, though, are more basic questions, such as, “Will people in other parts of the state move to Jefferson City for these leadership jobs when so many are dual income couples? Are the satisfactions and benefits enough incentive to make the move?”
As our new Commissioner Don Johnson said to staff at one of the meetings, “There’s lots of opportunity ahead.” I know we have great people who will rise to take the leads. But it will certainly be a big change to have so many new top leaders in such a short time.