November 19, 2009
Robert "Bob" Ziehmer has been named as the Missouri Department of Conservation's director-designate. Ziehmer says he will work hard to improve services and maintain the citizen support that has made Missouri a conservation leader.
The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Nov. 6 that Ziehmer will head the agency starting Jan. 15. He will be the eighth director in the agency's 73-year history, replacing John D. Hoskins, who has been director since July 2002.
Ziehmer, 42, is a native of California, Mo., where he currently lives with his wife, Beth, and their daughters, Emily, 14, and Lauren, 11. He studied fisheries and wildlife management at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He began his career with MDC in 1991.
"I am both humbled and excited by this opportunity the commission has entrusted to me," Ziehmer says. "This is a huge event for me and for my family."
One of his top priorities as director will be maintaining the citizen confidence and support that have made Missouri a national conservation leader. "We need to have open dialog with Missourians about important issues," he says. "I welcome that. Citizen input and involvement are critical to conservation."
Examples of citizen input that have been effective in the past include: holding public meetings on important topics, conducting surveys to ensure MDC services meet citizen needs and increasing the agency's use of diverse media outreach avenues for two-way communication with citizens.
One short-term challenge facing MDC is dealing with decreased revenues because of the slowed economy. "We are not in a crisis mode," Ziehmer says, "but we need to continue to ensure that efficiency measures are in place and to streamline processes. The public has entrusted the department with a unique and special system of conservation governance and funding. We must maintain accountability."
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