Sally Jewell Gets to Work as Secretary of the Interior

Spends first day on the job greeting career employees, holding in-depth briefings

Last edited 09/05/2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Assuming her responsibilities as the 51st Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell is spending her first full day in the office meeting some of the Department's more than 70,000 employees. She also began to hold meetings on important issues before the Department, including energy development, conservation, Indian Affairs and youth engagement.

During brief remarks to employees who greeted Secretary Jewell as she entered the main Interior building in Washington, D.C., Jewell underscored her commitment to public service.

“There is no higher calling than public service, and I am honored and humbled to be serving as your Secretary of the Interior,” Jewell said. “At Interior, we have vast responsibilities to the American people, from making smart decisions about the natural resources with which we have been blessed, to honoring our word to American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

“Our public lands are huge economic engines for the nation,” added Jewell. “From energy development to tourism and outdoor recreation, our lands and waters power our economy and create jobs. I look forward to working with you all to ensure that we are managing our public lands wisely and sustainably so that their multiple uses are available for the generations to come.”

Jewell was officially sworn in on Friday, April 12 at the Supreme Court of the United States. Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor administered the oath of office. O'Connor and Jewell worked together on the National Parks Second Century Commission, an independent commission charged with developing a twenty-first century vision for the National Park Service.

As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees. Interior serves as steward for approximately 20 percent of the nation's lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands; oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

Prior to her confirmation, Jewell served in the private sector, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI). Jewell joined REI as Chief Operating Officer in 2000 and was named CEO in 2005. During her tenure, REI nearly tripled in business to $2 billion and was consistently ranked one of the 100 best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine.

Before joining to REI, Jewell spent 19 years as a commercial banker, first as an energy and natural resources expert and later working with a diverse array of businesses that drive our nation's economy.

Trained as a petroleum engineer, Jewell started her career with Mobil Oil Corp. in the oil and gas fields of Oklahoma and the exploration and production office in Denver, Colo. where she was exposed to the remarkable diversity of our nation's oil and gas resources.

An avid outdoorswoman, Jewell finds time to explore her backyard in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys skiing, kayaking, hiking and other activities. She has scaled Mount Rainier on seven occasions, and recently climbed Vinson Massif, the highest mountain in Antarctica.

Over her career, Jewell has worked to ensure that public lands are accessible and relevant to all people from all backgrounds.

“We have a generation of children growing up without any connection to nature,” said Jewell. “From our urban parks to the vast lands of the BLM, the Department of the Interior is well positioned to build a deep and enduring connection between the great outdoors and a new generation of Americans and visitors.”

Jewell is a graduate of the University of Washington. She and her husband, Warren, have two adult children, Peter and Anne.

To see photographs of Secretary Jewell's official swearing in ceremony, click here.

To see photographs of Secretary Jewell's arrival at the Stuart Lee Udall Building in Washington, DC, click here.

You can welcome Secretary Jewell to the Department of the Interior by following her at


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