The Department of Natural Resources today announced leadership appointments in its Commissioner’s Office.
DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen named current Assistant Commissioner Barb Naramore as deputy DNR commissioner.
Since 2013, Naramore has overseen three divisions (Ecological and Water Resources, Forestry, and Lands and Minerals) and worked frequently with other divisions on interdisciplinary efforts. Prior to joining the DNR, Naramore was executive director of the Upper Mississippi River Basin Association, where she worked with five states, federal agencies, and stakeholder groups on river-related programs and policies, including a groundbreaking aquatic ecosystem restoration and monitoring program.
“Barb has a passion for the full breadth of DNR’s work and understands its importance in the lives of all Minnesotans,” said Strommen. “As deputy, Barb will work closely with me on DNR’s strategic direction, building partnerships with external stakeholders, and fostering our efforts to connect all Minnesotans to the outdoors.”
Naramore will oversee the agency’s regional directors, assistant commissioners, and general counsel.
Strommen said as she works to create a DNR leadership team, “my primary goal is to ensure that we have both the framework and the individuals DNR needs to implement its critical and complex mission and pursue Gov. Tim Walz’s vision for One Minnesota.”
Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier will continue leading the DNR’s legislative and governmental affairs efforts. According to Strommen, “Bob will also use his deep knowledge and experience with natural resources policy and programs to oversee the Enforcement and Fish and Wildlife divisions.”
Meier has been with the DNR since 2003, serving as legislative affairs director and as assistant commissioner. He was the legislative affairs director for the Office of Environmental Assistance from 1994-2003. He is an avid outdoors person, hunter and angler.
Jess Richards, currently director of the DNR’s Lands and Minerals Division, is joining the Commissioner’s Office as assistant commissioner overseeing the divisions of Ecological and Water Resources and Lands and Minerals. As Lands and Minerals director, Richards helped lead the agency’s Strategic Land Asset Management work, modernized its land records system, and navigated complex minerals development and environmental protection challenges across multiple mining projects. He is also an avid outdoors person who enjoys camping, hunting, fishing, and biking with his family.
Before joining the DNR in 2012, Richards worked at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for 18 years, serving in a variety of leadership and staff capacities.
Randolph Briley will join the DNR as special assistant to the commissioner. Briley will focus on public engagement, outreach and building stakeholder coalitions.
Prior to joining the DNR, Briley served for over nine years in Washington, D.C. as Congressman Walz’s agriculture and natural resources policy advisor and legislative director.
During this time, Briley worked on passage of important federal conservation policy, including the 2014 Farm Bill Conservation Title, the Sportsmen’s Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act, Land and Water Conservation Fund Reauthorization and the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act.
The DNR will announce a third assistant commissioner and other leadership appointments soon. The third assistant commissioner will oversee the divisions of Forestry, Parks and Trails, and Operations Services.
“I’m very humbled and honored that these outstanding public servants have agreed to work in the Commissioner’s Office,” Strommen said. “They share a passion for the DNR’s mission and will provide a diversity of deep experience and perspectives.”