The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last
week appointed Kelly Susewind of Olympia as the new director of the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by
the Governor to set policy for WDFW, voted unanimously to select Susewind after
interviewing seven candidates in May and narrowing the field to three
finalists, who were interviewed for a second time earlier this week.
Susewind accepted the appointment as permanent
director following the commission's vote. He will oversee an agency of 1,800
employees and an operating budget of $460 million for the current two-year
budget period. WDFW is charged with conserving fish and wildlife and providing
sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities.
Susewind has worked at the state Department of
Ecology since 1990 in a variety of roles, most recently as the director of
administrative services and environmental policy. He also worked several years
during the 1980s as a private-sector environmental consultant.
Susewind received a bachelor's degree in
geological engineering from Washington State University and an associate degree
in engineering from Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen. He grew up in the Grays
"All of the commissioners look forward to
a fresh start for WDFW under Kelly's leadership, particularly in the approach
our agency takes to improving our working relationships with the Legislature,
native American tribes, and the people of Washington to manage the state's
wonderful fish and wildlife resources," said Commission Chairman Brad
"Today's appointment marks the beginning
of a new era in the department's history," Smith added. "We have an immensely
dedicated, talented, and energetic staff, and we are confident that with Kelly
in the director's position, WDFW will achieve the high level of success we
Susewind said, "I'm honored to have the
opportunity to serve the people of Washington at an agency whose effectiveness
is critical to our ability to conserve fish and wildlife resources while
providing outdoor recreation and commercial opportunities throughout the state.
The public has high expectations for WDFW, and I'm excited about being in a
position to deliver the results they deserve."
Susewind's salary will be $165,000 per year.
He will assume the director's position on Aug. 1.