I was sad to see three key leaders and friends at the Conservation Department leave recently (one into a new job elsewhere and two into blissful retirement). However, three great new people have stepped up to fill their roles.
In an earlier blog, I mentioned that the baby boomers who got into conservation in the '70s are starting to enter retirement age. That trend is in full swing with retirees Steve Eder (was Fisheries chief) and Dennis Steward (was Protection chief). Denise Brown, my former boss and assistant director is the third who chose a new challenge at a non-profit organization.
The new people each bring about 30 years of experience to the job—90 years combined.
Bill Turner is the new Fisheries Division chief, and Larry Yamnitz is the new Protection Division chief. Bill’s career in the Fisheries Division has included such jobs as fisheries management biologist and fisheries program coordinator. Larry has served in such roles as as a conservation agent, assistant regional supervisor, protection training supervisor and protection field chief.
Tim Ripperger is our newest assistant director. He started his career as a conservation agent, then became protection regional supervisor and more recently served as a protection vield chief. Working for the Conservation Department is, as Tim puts it, “a lifelong dream that I’m fortunate enough to live everyday of my life.”
I’ve worked with all three of these people over the years and know each of them as intelligent, thoughtful, optimistic and down-to-earth. They’re the kind of people you’re happy to see in such important leadership roles—in working with all Missourians to keep our state’s natural world healthy for us all to enjoy.