Appointment of Field Special Assistants

Last edited 09/29/2021


To: All DOI Employees

In an effort to streamline our operations and better serve the American public, we consolidated 49 regions across 8 Bureaus into 12 Unified Regions.  These regions encompass all of the Department’s Bureaus except for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, and the Bureau of Indian Education.  Our new organization reduces bureaucratic redundancy, improves communication between our experts in the field and leaders in Washington, DC, and allows us to share our knowledge and resources more effectively among the Department’s field staff and local collaborators. 


New Unified Region Boundaries

Senior executives across most of the Department’s Bureaus and the Office of the Solicitor have served in temporary positions as Regional Facilitators to guide the implementation process for these changes.  They have been instrumental in providing important feedback to advance the unified regional structure. 

Today, I am announcing the establishment of 12 Field Special Assistants (Field Assistants) who will be dedicated to ensuring the long-term operational efficiency of this regional structure.  Regional Field Committees (Committees) will also be established, comprised of the senior executives appointed by the heads of Bureaus and Offices with responsibilities for a given Unified Region, as well as the Regional Solicitor.  The Committees will prove extremely beneficial to the effective and efficient management of each Unified Region.

The key goals for the Field Assistants include:

  • enhancing cooperation and strengthening relationships with States, Tribes, local governments, and other key stakeholders within each Unified Region; 
  • coordinating major intra/interagency efforts as assigned by the Secretary; 
  • improving problem solving by expediently resolving jurisdictional conflicts within each Unified Region and/or elevating issues for faster resolution; and
  • developing and focusing on shared priorities.

The 12 Field Assistants

Region Field Assistant Bureau/Office
1 Thomas Shope Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
2 Shannon Goessling Office of the Solicitor
3 Tony Sullins Office of the Solicitor
4 Lars Herbst Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
5 Linda Walker U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
6 Mike Celata Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
7 Alan Mikkelsen Office of the Secretary
8 Ray Suazo Bureau of Land Management
9 Alan Mikkelsen Office of the Secretary
10 Stan Austin National Park Service
11 Steve Wackowski Office of the Secretary
12 Cindy Orlando National Park Service

Those serving as Field Assistants will typically serve a 1-year assignment and will be able to provide a clear and distinct point of contact for stakeholders to elevate, and seek prompt resolution on, issues that involve multiple Bureaus.  This approach to serving the public and our employees will produce quicker results, better guidance, and increased efficiency, thereby satisfying local communities and stakeholders.  

Thank you for your service and for continuing to advance the varied missions of the Department.  I look forward to working with each of the Field Assistants in their new capacity.

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment