Columbia native to direct Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Monday, December 13, 2010 | 6:14 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Columbia native Sara Parker Pauley will become the new director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, subject to Senate approval.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced his nomination of Pauley on Monday at MU's Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building. Pauley said at the news conference that she was excited to lead the department, where she worked as deputy director from 2001 to 2005.

Quick facts about Sara Parker Pauley


  • Project manager for D.J. Case and Associates, a natural resources communications firm.
  • Executive committee and board member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri.  
  • Executive vice president of PrimeGen Power USA, a power energy company based in Missouri, from 2006 to 2007.
  • Board member of the American National Fish and Wildlife Museum from 2005 to 2006.
  • Deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources from 2001 to 2005.
  • Chief of staff for former Missouri House Speaker Steve Gaw from 1996 to 1998. 

Personal details

  • Pauley's husband, Scott Pauley, is a professional bass fisherman and worked for the Missouri State Highway Patrol for 30 years. 
  • Pauley went to Hickman High School and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a juris doctorate at MU. 

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"What a great honor to serve your administration as director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources," Pauley said to Nixon.

While deputy director, Pauley served as the agency's public liaison and oversaw the  staff and budgets of its Energy Center and its State Historic Preservation, Technical Assistance and Communications offices.

Pauley, 45, now lives in Hartsburg. She is an avid hunter, angler and outdoorswoman. She grew up in Columbia, graduating from Hickman High School and earning journalism and law degrees at MU. She said her love for the Missouri outdoors came from her family, which has lived in Missouri for generations.

"It is from childhood that respect for our great outdoors, and the wise use of our natural resources is a personal, as well as a collective responsibility," Pauley said.

Pauley, who has held jobs in the private and public sectors, said her experience will help the Department of Natural Resources succeed in meeting Nixon's goals, which include boosting the economy by developing alternative sources of energy and creating new "green jobs."

"Public policy works best when all stakeholders work together," Pauley said.

Steve Mahfood, former director of the Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release that Pauley had the right tools to be a strong director.

"She has the ability to listen to all sides, communicate effectively and confidently, and identify common ground," Mahfood said. "Those are critical skills in a position such as this one."

Nixon put together a nine-person committee to conduct a nationwide search for a new director.

"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 21 century," he said. "Today I'm pleased to announce that we have found a leader with the insight and the ability to tackle those challenges head on."

Nixon said that Pauley's experience in conservation, energy, education and public policy was important in his selection of her.

"I'm extremely pleased to have Sara joining my Cabinet, and I look forward to working closely with her," Nixon said.

Pauley replaces acting director Kip Stetzler, who has filled in since August. Former director Mark Templeton resigned from the position to become executive director of the Office of the Independent Trustees of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust.

The Missouri Senate must confirm Nixon's appointment of Pauley before she becomes the new director. 

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