I hope you enjoy this first edition of the Director’s Newsletter. We hope to expand it over time in order to facilitate greater internal communications to everyone. You can expect that future editions will come out on a quarterly basis; if you have items happening in your area that you feel it would be useful for everyone to hear about, please send them up through your divisions so that they can be included.
As you probably know, we were happy to welcome George Braxton to the team as the agency’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in December. George has already demonstrated his talent as we seek to reach all 8.5 million Virginians and invest them in wildlife and outdoor recreation. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet George yet, please feel free to stop by and say hello anytime that you find yourself in headquarters, or otherwise arrange to speak with him. George is here to be a resource to all of DGIF.
This time of year marks the General Assembly Session, which is always a busy time of year. This year we had over 30 pieces of legislation filed that affect the agency or its programs, and I’m pleased to say that we are having a good Session so far in terms of avoiding negative impacts and working with patrons to see that legislation is amended in a way to achieve their intent while avoiding unintended consequences. Tom Guess and/or myself are at the General Assembly nearly every day; you can keep track of legislation affecting the agency at: http://dgifwebtest.gooutdoorsvirginia.com/legislation/
Speaking of legislation, you most likely have heard of Senate Bill 616, which would change the name of the DGIF to the Department of Wildlife Resources effective July 1. Updating the agency’s name to something more recognizable to the public has been a topic of discussion for years, and this legislation would achieve that while matching us up with many other agencies across the country that feature “wildlife” in their names (including our neighbors, Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina). While this is simply a name change, and the bill doesn’t include any other provisions, should it pass it would hopefully assist with name recognition and marketing of the agency’s programs to the general public going forward.
Finally of note, we will in the near future begin the process of recruiting a second Deputy Director. This will help achieve efficiency and consistency within the Director’s Office to best serve the divisions. This will be an open recruitment, with all interested encouraged to apply.
Thank you for all that you do for the agency. Your work truly makes a difference and, as noted by the JLARC study completed last year, results in a high level of public satisfaction. It is truly an honor to be associated with such a dedicated and talented group of individuals.