OLYMPIA, Wa. – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has named Mike Kuttel, Jr. as the new director of its Eastern Region.
Kuttel has worked at WDFW since 2015 in two statewide policy positions focused on fish and wildlife conservation and providing recreational opportunities on public and private lands through federal farm bill conservation programs, and most recently through shared stewardship with the U.S. Forest Service and Washington State Department of Natural Resources. His 25-year career has focused on conserving natural resources while working for Lewis Conservation District, the Washington State Conservation Commission, Thurston Conservation District, and the Washington State Department of Ecology.
“I am excited and honored for the opportunity to serve as Regional Director in WDFW’s Eastern Region.” Kuttel said. “I believe strongly in WDFW’s mission and look forward to building and expanding relationships in the region. I am passionate about our work and fully recognize that for us to be successful in fulfilling that mission, we need partners–and we need to be a good partner to others.”
Kuttel will assume his new role beginning May 16. Reporting directly to WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, Kuttel will serve as the lead for regional issues in Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, Lincoln, Spokane, Whitman, Asotin, Garfield, Columbia, and Walla Walla counties.
“Mike demonstrates our agency values,” said Kelly Susewind, WDFW Director. “There are so many opportunities in the Eastern Region, and I’m confident Mike’s collaborative approach and his commitment to listen and learn will yield positive conservation results for the resource and the public we serve.”
Kuttel is a lifelong resident of Washington state and has lived on both sides of the Cascade Mountains. He grew up in southwest Washington where he tagged along with his dad and grandpa in the woods fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout and hunting black-tailed deer and Roosevelt elk. He developed a deep connection with nature and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science with the goal of a career conserving natural resources. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and foraging for mushrooms and berries with his family all over the Pacific Northwest.
After 30 years, with the Department in a variety of roles, including 24 years as an agency executive, Steve Pozzanghera is retiring as Region 1 Director position later this month.
“Steve has been the consummate wildlife professional and has been such a champion for the resource, the staff, and the public,” said Susewind. “We’re going to miss Steve’s leadership, and we wish him well in his retirement.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.