U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the appointment of Kurt Thiede of Wisconsin to become regional administrator for Region 5, overseeing environmental protection efforts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
Thiede will succeed Cathy Stepp, who is stepping down from her post in the Great Lakes region after several years of service to the agency.
“Kurt Thiede’s commitment to public service and passion for the Great Lakes region make him an excellent choice to lead the Region 5 office,” said Wheeler in a statement. “While we will greatly miss Cathy Stepp’s leadership, I am confident that Kurt will bring the same level of dedication to the role of Regional Administrator. I look forward to working with him to further protect human health and the environment for our residents throughout the region.”
“I’m humbled and honored to be selected by Administrator Wheeler to serve as the next regional administrator for EPA Region 5. I look forward to helping to continue to advance this administration’s priorities of protecting public health and the environment, while promoting a strong and vibrant economy,” said Thiede in a statement.
According to the EPA, Thiede comes to this role with extensive experience promoting and protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes region. Most recently, he served as the chief of staff to regional administrator Stepp.
Prior to joining the EPA, Thiede served as deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) from 2015 to 2017. As deputy, he served as the chief operations officer for the agency, overseeing a $500 million annual operating budget and providing leadership and direction to the agency’s 2,400 full-time employees. He is an 18-year veteran of WDNR and previously spent four years as the administrator for the Land Division.