With two supervisor positions finally filled, all seven regions of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks have leaders at the helm. However, four of those supervisors are basically rookies on a team that’s young to begin with.
On Thursday, FWP announced that Barb Beck would replace retiring Region 5 Supervisor Gary Hammond, who had been in the job almost 10 years.
The press release said that Beck worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 13 years, eventually supervising fish and wildlife biologists, hydrologists, foresters and enforcement and administrative recreation staff. She also was the acting fish and wildlife staff officer for both the Helena and Deer Lodge national forests.
But Beck is no stranger to FWP.
In her most recent career, she’s been a consultant providing facilitation, conflict resolution and other services to clients focusing on natural resource and land management issues and FWP was one of those clients.
In 2014, Beck was the facilitator for a 16-member advisory council that spent months working on ways to simplify FWP’s license structure so that small price increases could be made to boost FWP’s annual budget. She also led an advisory council working on ways to encourage non-consumptive users, such as bird watchers and photographers, to contribute to wildlife management costs.
So Beck is versed in working with diverse groups to find solutions, which are needed in the Billings area.
Meanwhile, Region 6 wildlife manager Mark Sullivan is moving up to replace Tom Flowers as Region 6 supervisor in Glasgow.
During his 26 years with FWP, Sullivan also served as a wildlife management biologist in Malta, worked with private landowners as a habitat project biologist and was a Block Management Area Coordinator in Region 4. He holds a master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University.
So he brings a vast amount of experience to the job.
Flowers is moving over to Helena to replace 35-year veteran Jim Kropp as the Chief of Law Enforcement.
Beck and Sullivan are taking over less than a year after two other supervisors took over in Regions 1 and 3.
In mid-November, Region 3 warden Sam Sheppard took over for Pat Flowers who had led Region 3 for 16 years, and Region 1 wildlife manager James Williams took over for Jim Satterfield who had been on the job nine years.
Randy Arnold, a former warden, is another relative newcomer, having taken the reins of Region 2 in Aug. 2013.
The remaining two supervisors have a few more years under their belts.
Brad Schmitz has been the Region 7 supervisor since 2009. Before that, he was the fisheries manager in Miles City.
With Hammond retiring, the old man of the group is now Region 4 Supervisor Gary Bertellotti, who took over in Jan. 2006, the same time that Hammond took over Region 5.