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Mike Carroll leaves DNR Northwest Region director post

Mike Carroll, the Department of Natural Resources Northwest Region Director based in Bemidji, has been named the DNR assistant commissioner for field operations and community outreach by new DNR commissioner Tom Landwehr.

Carroll's promotion is one of three recently announced by Landwehr. The goal of the promotions is to usher in a new era of openness and customer responsiveness at the DNR, according to DNR officials.

"We went out and found the very best people we could to lead us into the future," said Landwehr. "I'm very excited about leveraging their skill and experience to better reach out to the people of Minnesota and represent their needs and concerns."

In addition to Carroll, DNR assistant commissioners include Mary McConnell as assistant commissioner for legal and government affairs and Erika Rivers as assistant commissioner for customer relations and outreach.

McConnell formerly served as vice president and general counsel of Polaris Industries Inc. and previously held a similar role at Genmar. Rivers is a seven-year DNR employee who was most recently project manager for the Lake Vermilion State Park development.

The DNR regional directors include Dennis Fredrickson in the Southern Region, Keith Parker in the Central Region and Craig Engwall in the Northeast. Because of Carroll's new position there currently is not a director in the Northwest Region.

Frederickson is a 30-year state senator with experience in natural resource legislation while Parker is a media and community relations professional formerly with Twin Cities Public Television. Engwall has been the Northeast Director since 2006.

The DNR's new communications director is Chris Niskanen who served as outdoors editor for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for the past 17 years.

In Commissioner's Office appointments, Bob Meier has been named special assistant to the commissioner for legislative affairs. Bob Lessard, a 26-year veteran of the Capitol and a long-time champion of the outdoors, also will become a special assistant to the commissioner for community outreach. He will work with conservation organizations and other groups around the state to ensure that the agency is listening and responding to their ideas and concerns.

Divisional leadership includes: Laurie Martinson, director of the new Division of Operations Services; Larry Kramka, director of the Division of Lands and Minerals; plus Ed Boggess, formerly acting director and now director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Courtland Nelson remains director of the Parks and Trails Division, Jim Konrad remains director of the Enforcement Division, Steve Hirsch remains director of the division of Ecological and Water Resource and Dave Epperly continues as director of the Division of Forestry.

"We'll see a few new faces and a few new positions but ultimately these changes will enable us to become a leaner, more efficient, more responsive agency," said Landwehr.