Secretary Zinke Applauds Nomination of David Vela for National Park Service Director

Vela would be the first Hispanic American to hold the position

David Vela wears a national park service uniform and hat and stands in a field with trees showing fall colors behind him.
8/31/2018
Last edited 8/31/2018

Date: August 31, 2018
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the nomination of Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela to serve as the director of the National Park Service. A seasoned National Park Service leader, Mr. Vela has served at every level of the organization with distinction throughout his career. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke applauded the President’s choice today.

“David Vela has demonstrated all of the ideals that the National Park Service stands for, and his long track record of leadership on behalf of the people and places of the National Park Service distinguish him as the right man for the job,” said Secretary Zinke. “Our extraordinary national parks will be in the best of hands with David at the helm.”

“I am deeply humbled by the President's nomination to serve as the 19th Director of the National Park Service, and if confirmed, I look forward to working with Secretary Zinke to address the NPS maintenance backlog, protect our national treasures, and serve all who come to enjoy the parks,” said Mr. Vela. “Having worn the uniform of the National Park Service for more than 28 years, I greatly value all that it represents and the importance of ensuring that we build a next generation workforce that is ready to take on the challenges and opportunities facing our agency.”

“I’m pleased the President has nominated Mr. Vela to be Director of the National Park Service,” said Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski. “As we seek to improve the culture of the agency and address its multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog, I look forward to meeting him and scheduling a hearing on his nomination in the near future.”

“David Vela will bring stability and quality leadership to the NPS," said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. "Addressing the maintenance backlog in our parks is long overdue, and Vela’s years of service in parks around the country will bring fresh advocacy to this continued effort. President Trump made a superb decision in picking Vela to lead the NPS. I look forward to working with him to further this important work.”

“Few people have the knowledge, passion and appreciation for our amazing national parks as David Vela,” said Wyoming Governor Matt Mead. “He has been a good partner to Wyoming and an effective leader at Grand Teton National Park. I am excited to see his name move forward. National Parks will be in great hands with David at the helm.”

“David Vela understands the challenges facing our national parks and the power of working with partners to address them,” stated Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “His strong, inclusive and deft leadership will effectively serve these places where Americans come together to appreciate our sacred landscapes and shared history.”

"David's devotion to public service, commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workforce, and passion in achieving the mission of the National Park Service is to be commended. The agency would be well served in having him as the 19th Director of the National Park Service," said Bob Stanton, 15th Director of the National Park Service.

"As grand as the Tetons, the history-making choice of David Vela to become Director of the National Park Service is a nationally unifying one, which all Americans can praise," said Larry Rockefeller, grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Jr, and son of Laurance S. Rockefeller. "In that spirit, I sense the delight of my late grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, Jr, and father, Laurance S. Rockefeller, that our extraordinary national parks legacy will be upheld by Director Vela, for all present and future generations."

"Over the past five years, while he has served as superintendent of Grand Teton National Park, David Vela has been a wonderful partner," said Leslie Mattson, President of the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. "We have a model public/private partnership and have worked together to execute many important projects in Grand Teton. He is an extraordinary leader whose passion and commitment will ensure his success as the next director of the National Park Service."

Mr. Vela has served as the superintendent of Grand Teton National Park & the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway since 2014. Prior to his current post, Vela served as associate director for Workforce, Relevancy and Inclusion in the NPS Washington headquarters offices. He also served for over four years as the NPS Southeast Regional Director and as superintendent of Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway.