Mark Myers has resigned as Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Myers served as the 14th Director of the USGS since his Senate confirmation two years ago. Suzette Kimball is serving as Acting Director of USGS.

Dr. Kimball was the Director of the Eastern Region in 2004 and became the Acting Associate Directory for Geology in 2008. Kimball joined the USGS as Eastern Regional Executive for Biology. In that position, she built many partnerships, helped shape programs, and led the establishment of the USGS Florida Integrated Science Center. She came to the USGS from the National Park Service in Atlanta, where she was Associate Regional Director.

She entered the National Park Service as a research coordinator in the Global Climate Change Program, became Southeast Regional Chief Scientist, then Associate Regional Director. She was assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, co-director of the Center for Coastal Management and Policy and marine scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and managed coastal morphology and barrier island studies in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

She serves on executive boards and many State and national committees, including the Consortium for Coastal Restoration through Science & Technology, the Council of Examiners of the National Association of State Boards of Geology, and the DOI Senior Executive Service Advisory Council. She was on the board of directors of the Coastal Society and has served as secretary of the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Section.

She has authored numerous publications on barrier island dynamics, coastal ecosystem science, coastal zone management and policy, and natural resource exploration, evaluation and management. She has received the Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary of the Interior’s Meritorious Service Award.

Dr. Kimball has a doctorate in environmental sciences with a specialty in coastal processes from the University of Virginia, a master’s in geology and geophysics from Ball State University, and a bachelor’s in English and geology from the College of William & Mary.

In his resignation letter, Myers noted that he had asked to stay on as Director; however, he received no response from the incoming administration.

According to a recent memorandum from Myers to USGS employees, several senior leadership changes have been approved within the bureau’s senior science leadership team. The text of the memorandum states:

I am pleased to announce the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Executive Resources Board has approved several personnel actions that will fill vacancies within USGS executive leadership. These individuals bring great strength, knowledge and fresh perspectives and will further our efforts to carry out the vision of the USGS Science Strategy.

William Werkheiser has been selected as the Eastern Region Director. Bill has served in numerous positions in the USGS, most recently serving as the Acting Chief Scientist for Water. Some of his prior assignments have included Acting Associate Director for Geology, Acting Enterprise Publishing Network Manager, Acting Regional Executive for the Northeastern Water Programs, and the Director of the Pennsylvania Water Science Center. He also led the Hazards Initiative Team and the long-term Hurricane Katrina Response and Recovery Team for the USGS. Bill started his USGS career in 1986 as a hydrologist in the Delaware Water Science Center and has over 25 years of experience with USGS and other agencies working on a variety of environmental and scientific issues. Bill has a bachelor’s degree in geology from Bloomsburg University and a master’s degree in geology from the University of Massachusetts.

Stan Ponce has been selected as the Central Region Director. Stan has served in numerous positions in the USGS, most recently as Regional Executive for the South Central Area. Prior assignments have included Senior Advisor to the Director for Partnerships and Interagency Programs, Chief of Partnerships and External Coordination in the Geography and Geospatial Information Office, Senior Advisor to the Associate Director for the Geospatial Information Office, and Acting Regional Biologist for the Central Region. He has also worked for other Bureaus within the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service. Stan has over 25 years of experience in working on a variety of scientific research and management of land and water resources issues. He holds bachelor’s degrees in watershed science (Oregon State University) and forestry and natural resources (University of Missouri), and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University. An Acting Regional Executive for the South Central Area will be announced shortly.

Kevin Gallagher has been reassigned to Associate Director for Geospatial Information and Chief Information Officer. Kevin has served in several positions since arriving at the USGS in 2002, including the Chief Technology Officer, the Acting Chief Information Officer, and most recently as the Deputy Associate Director for Geospatial Information. He has also held positions at the Department of Transportation and the Department of the Navy. Kevin has over 25 years of experience working with information technology systems and networks, telecommunications, and information technology security. Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in management information systems from James Madison University and his master’s degree in information resources management from Syracuse University.

Bryant Cramer has been reassigned to Associate Director for Geography. Bryant originally joined the USGS as the Executive Advisor for Land Imaging, helping us plan the transition of the Landsat Program from a series of independent single research missions to a truly operational satellite program. Prior to joining the USGS, Bryant worked for more than 30 years in numerous positions at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, including Goddard Space Flight Center, Johnson Space Center, Langley Research Center, and Headquarters. He has extensive experience in the development, launch, and management of earth science space missions. Bryant has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a Ph. D. in engineering from Northwestern University.

Ione Taylor has been reassigned to Chief Scientist for Geography. Ione originally joined the USGS in 1999 and has served in a variety of management positions including Chief Scientist for the Eastern Energy Resources Team, Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Region, Chief Scientist for Eastern Region and Acting Chief Scientist for Geography. Before coming to the USGS, Ione spent 14 years in the petroleum industry, starting as a geologist working on domestic and international hydrocarbon reservoir and risk evaluation, and subsequently holding various management positions. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Guilford College, and a master’s and Ph.D. in geology from the University of North Carolina.

The selection for the Chief Scientist for Water is pending OPM approval. For now, Earl Greene will serve as the Acting Chief Scientist.

I am also pleased to announce that we have selected Greg Withee as the new Senior Science Advisor for International Programs. This senior level position within the Office of the Associate Director for Geology is responsible for leading and coordinating all U.S. Federal activities in support of the country’s representation on the Group on Earth Observations and USGS activities associated with the International Consortium of Geological Surveys as well as overseeing all bureau-wide international programs. Greg comes to us from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where he has served in numerous positions including Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Assistant Administrator and Deputy Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services and Director of the National Oceanographic Data Center. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from Pomona College and a master’s in physical oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda Gundersen for serving as the Acting Eastern Region Director and David Applegate, Leslie Armstrong and Peter Lyttle as the Acting Central Region Director while we recruited for these positions.


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