DOINews: All DOI Employees: Departmental Leadership

Last edited 09/05/2019

October 1, 2014

To: All Department of the Interior Staff

From: Secretary Sally Jewell

Subject: Department Leadership

Over the last 17 months, it has been an honor to work alongside you – as a teammate and advocate – as we carry out the important mission of the Department of the Interior. We have made tremendous progress on several of the key priorities for the Department and the Administration. In particular, we have focused our efforts on addressing climate change, which has impacts for everything we do, as well as addressing the critical issues of engaging the next generation, celebrating and enhancing America's great outdoors, upholding trust and treaty obligations to tribal communities, and assuring healthy watersheds and sustainable, secure water supplies, especially in a time of continued drought.

Today, I am pleased to announce that three highly qualified individuals have accepted important leadership positions at the Department and will work hard to address these critical issues:

  • Kristen (Kris) Sarri will lead the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management & Budget as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary;
  • Jennifer Gimbel will lead the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary; and
  • Estevan Lopez will lead the Bureau of Reclamation as the Principal Deputy Commissioner.

Kris and Jennifer have proven to be valuable leaders for the Department and for the Administration in a series of roles. I am delighted that they will be helping to lead their respective offices over the coming months. Additionally, Estevan has been a reliable and thoughtful partner in our work on water and drought in New Mexico. Estevan is the President's nominee to be Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation and was voted out of committee in June – he is awaiting a vote of the full Senate. We have important work to do and I am glad he will be joining our team while his nomination is pending.

I would like to take this time to thank Assistant Secretary Rhea Suh, Assistant Secretary Anne Castle, and Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley for their leadership over the last several years. Rhea and Anne will be starting new and exciting chapters in their lives, and I am grateful that Lowell will continue in his role as Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Bureau of Reclamation, supporting the organization at this critical time.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Michael Bean who has been leading that office since the departure of Rachel Jacobson. He continues to be a tremendous asset for the Department.

As noted below, our three new leaders are exceptionally well qualified in their respective roles to support the Department and the American people:

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Management & Budget Kris Sarri: Kris Sarri has held several critical roles with the Administration. Prior to joining the Department, Kris was the Associate Director for Legislative Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. Kris also served as the Deputy Director of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Department of Commerce. She spent a number of years on Capitol Hill working for U.S. Senator Jack Reed and the Senate Commerce Committee, and the bipartisan Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition. Kris received a Bachelor of Arts in Science from Washington University and her Master of Science in Natural Resources and Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Jennifer Gimbel: Jennifer joined our team in June 2013 as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science before accepting her current role of Deputy Commissioner–External and Intergovernmental Affairs. Jennifer has been working on critical issues involving the Rio Grande River, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, and other drought and climate change issues. Prior to her arrival in June, Jennifer held various roles in the Bureau of Reclamation from July 2001 through December 2008, including Associate Director for Operations and advisor to the Secretary on Indian Water Rights Settlements. Jennifer then became the Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board where she served with distinction for 5 years before coming back to the Department. Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Wyoming, her Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Delaware, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming.

Principal Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Estevan R. López:
Prior to his nomination by the President to become the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Estevan was the Director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission since 2003. Previously, Estevan served in a number of capacities for the County of Santa Fe from 1998 to 2003, including County Manager, Land Use and Utilities Department Director, Utilities Department Director, and Utilities Division Deputy Director. From 1990 to 1997, he was a Public Utility Engineer at the New Mexico Public Utility Commission. Previously, Mr. López worked at Arco Alaska, Inc., as an Operations Engineer and a Well Work Supervisor. He received a Bachelor of Science from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

I hope you will join me in congratulating Kris, Jennifer, and Estevan as they begin these leadership positions in the coming days. Thank you for the important work that you do on behalf of the Department of the Interior and the American people.

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