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EPA Appoints Kurt Thiede as Region 5 Administrator


WASHINGTON (Jan. 8, 2020) — Today, 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. Mr. 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 EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “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 Mr. Thiede.

Kurt Thiede comes to this role with extensive experience promoting and protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes region. Most recently, Mr. Thiede served as the chief of staff to regional administrator Cathy Stepp.

Prior to joining the EPA, Mr. Thiede served as deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 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.

Mr. Thiede has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management and biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and in 2016 he received an outstanding alumnus award from their school of natural resources.

Widespread Praise for Mr. Thiede’s Appointment:

“Kurt is a detail-oriented leader who works exceptionally well with Indiana and our surrounding states. We look forward to close collaboration with him,” said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

“As co-founder of the Senate Climate Caucus I am pleased Administrator Wheeler selected Kurt Thiede to oversee Region 5 as he has spent nearly two decades at the Wisconsin DNR where he promoted and protected the Great Lakes region,” said U.S. Senator Mike Braun (IN). “I am confident Kurt will work on commonsense solutions pertaining to climate that build upon President Trump’s red-hot economy.”

“The selection of Kurt Thiede as Administrator for Region 5 is a solid choice. Kurt’s experience dealing with state and federal issues impacting Wisconsin lakes, shorelines, and drinking water will suit Southeast Wisconsin well,” said U.S. Congressman Bryan Steil (WI-01). “I look forward to continue working with Kurt to protect our environment, grow our economy, and improve the quality of life in Wisconsin.”

“Ohio EPA deeply appreciates its strong relationship with Region 5, and we have enjoyed working closely with Administrator Cathy Stepp. I would like to congratulate Kurt Thiede on his new appointment,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson. “We are excited and look forward to working with Kurt in his new capacity. We are confident that Kurt will provide strong leadership within Region 5 and will work collaboratively with us to resolve issues that are important to Ohio.”

“Kurt Thiede is a great leader and has dedicated his career to protecting the environment. I’ve had the privilege of working with him in recent years and I look forward to our continued collaboration as he takes on his new role as Region 5 administrator,” said Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott.