Gov. Rick Snyder accepted the resignation of Patty Birkholz as director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes and tapped Jon W. Allan, of East Lansing, to lead the office.
The Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, housed in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, focuses on partnerships with local, state and federal groups and government bodies to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes.
“Patty Birkholz has long been a champion for Michigan’s natural resources, and we thank her for her leadership in this role,” Snyder said. “She will remain an important voice advising this administration and we wish her well as she continues her work as a supporter of Michigan’s environment and natural resources.”
Birkholz was appointed in December 2010. She made the Asian Carp threat a key focus, working with other Great Lakes states and federal authorities to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species. In addition, she worked diligently on restoring the health of Michigan’s Areas of Concern and creating healthy vibrant coastal communities.
Allan brings more than two decades of environmental experience to his new position. He presently works as director of environmental policy and intergovernmental affairs for Consumers Energy Co., where he has held high-ranking environmental and governmental affairs positions for more than 15 years.
“It is important for Michigan to have a clear, strong voice advocating for use and protection of our Great Lakes,” Snyder said. “Jon Allan brings experience, knowledge, creative energy, and a career marked by achievement and leadership on environmental issues. We look forward to having him on the team in the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.”
Allan begins Oct. 15. He will serve as an Executive on Loan from Consumers Energy for a minimum of one year. During his tenure with the Office of the Great Lakes, his connections with Consumers Energy will be suspended to allow him to focus on his role with the state and avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Allan has co-chaired the DEQ’s Water Use Advisory panel and Michigan’s Groundwater Conservation Advisory Council, served as a key adviser to the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact negotiations, served on the Environmental Advisory Council to the DEQ, Michigan Climate Action Council, and the Midwestern Governors Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord Advisory Group. He presently co-chairs the state’s Blue Ribbon Parks Commission.
Allan’s undergraduate degree in fisheries and wildlife, as well as his master’s degree in zoology and post-graduate work in environmental policy and law all were earned at Michigan State University. Snyder expressed appreciation for Consumers’ generosity in loaning one of its top environmental policy minds to serve the state of Michigan.
Snyder expressed appreciation for Consumers’ generosity in loaning one of its top environmental policy minds to serve the state of Michigan.
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