North Carolina Rep. Mitch Gillespie (R) of Marion represents McDowell and Burke counties. Photo courtesy of Gillespie via the N.C. General Assembly.

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Press release from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources:

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart announced Tuesday the appointment of Tom Reeder as assistant secretary for the environment and Mary Joan Pugh as interim assistant secretary for natural resources.

Reeder succeeds Mitch Gillespie, who will serve as a department liaison in the Asheville regional office. Pugh will serve as interim assistant secretary until a permanent replacement is named for Brad Ives, who resigned this week to pursue other interests.

“Tom Reeder is an experienced regulator, manager and longtime DENR employee,” van der Vaart said. “Tom’s engineering background and extensive regulatory expertise will be an asset in leading DENR’s efforts to provide for clean air, water and land. On the natural resources side, I wish to thank Mary Joan Pugh for taking on this assignment while we initiate a search for the leadership of our natural resource assets.”

Gillespie will become DENR’s first director of western outreach, working to strengthen environmental efforts in Western North Carolina and ensure that the concerns of citizens, local governments and the regulated community are being heard. Both Gillespie and Ives have served as assistant secretaries in DENR since January 2013.

Tom Reeder

Tom Reeder joined DENR in 1998. After working as an engineer in the divisions of Air Quality and Water Quality, he was named the director of the Division of Water Resources in 2008. Reeder became acting director of the Division of Water Quality in June 2013, and was appointed director of the newly formed Division of Water Resources in August 2013 when the divisions of Water Quality and Water Resources were merged into one division.

Prior to state government service, Reeder served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps for 20 years and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Reeder earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree in Engineering and Environmental Management from the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology.

Mary Joan Pugh

Pugh is also a veteran DENR employee, having served as an assistant secretary in DENR from 1985 to 1989. She joined the N.C. Zoo in 1989 and currently serves as the zoo’s deputy director. Pugh earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a master’s degree in regional planning with a concentration in environmental and land use planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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