Gov. Nixon introduced Sarah Parker Pauley at a press conference in Columbia.

Governor Nixon has picked the new Director of the Department of Natural Resources. It’s Sara Parker Pauley, a Columbia native who served as Deputy Director of the DNR from 2001 to 2005. Nixon says the hire is the product of a nationwide search.

“I assembled a team of senior leaders from business, agriculture, conservation, education and others to identify and recruit potential leaders for this critical post in my cabinet. At that time I made it clear that I expected this new cabinet member to bring vast professional experience and personal commitment to the mission of promoting sound, environmental stewardship and sustainable economic development for the 21st century,” Nixon said.

Nixon says the Columbia native has been chosen based on her various areas of expertise.

“Sarah brings decades of experience in conservation, energy education and public policy to this position. Most recently Sarah has been a project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm. She previously served as the deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources, as executive vice president of a distributed power company, as Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and as director of conservation programs for the American National Fish & Wildlife Museum,” Nixon said.

She was Chief of Staff to former Missouri House Speaker Steve Gaw from 1996-1998.

Pauley agrees; her experience will be very helpful in her new job.

“I understand how, you know, we must protect our resources at the same time grow the economy. Really this is a good time for me, balancing my government background and my private industry background, hopefully to benefit the state and its resources,” Pauley said.

Pauley is a Columbia native and currently lives in Hartsburg. She says that will also be an advantage, compared to someone that could have been hired from out-of-state.

“Somebody who can walk in the door, know the state, know many of the constituencies already and have relationships with those constituencies, have a passion for our resources. I really think this, for this (economic) time, it will be very beneficial to have someone coming in as a Missourian with that experience,” Pauley said.

Pauley says her job will be much more than just maintaining state parks and historic sites.

“I also believe that environmental stewardship and economic growth are not mutually exclusive. My experience in the private sector as well as in government has made it clear to me that public policy works best when all stakeholders work together,” Pauley said. “I am very eager to begin advancing Governor Nixon’s renewable energy agenda and developing new sources of clean, abundant energy and to growing our economy and promoting Missouri’s energy independence… Ensuring that we are creating a greener, healthier and more prosperous state.”

She expects to start work soon.

“It looks like I’ll be gearing up quickly and starting sometime before the end of the year. So as you can image, with session starting, that’s going to be such a priority is just getting up to speed. Getting with my leadership team at the agency and get up to speed with the issues,” Pauley said.

Pauley replaces Mark Templeton, who resigned in August to oversee payments to those affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. The appointment is pending state senate approval.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 Min MP3]