LANSING — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in December named new directors for state departments, including heads for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Liesl Eichler Clark will lead the DEQ, Daniel Eichinger will serve as director for the DNR, and Gary McDowell will head MDARD.
“I am proud to announce a team of immensely talented and representative leaders who are committed to moving our state forward for all Michigan residents,” Whitmer said in a statement Dec. 27. “These individuals are experts in their fields and will bring fresh and diverse perspectives to the Cabinet as we work together to address critical issues and improve lives throughout the state.”
Clark is the co-founder and partner of 5 Lakes Energy, a Lansing-based policy consulting firm. She is a resident of Howell, Mich., and previously served as president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and deputy director for energy programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth.
“Liesl will be instrumental in finding real and lasting solutions to protecting our water resources here in the state,” Whitmer said. “She brings an acute understanding of the critical intersection between environmental safety and business innovation, which will be essential in moving Michigan’s environmental stewardship forward.”
Eichinger, a Lake Isabella resident, is currently serving as executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, a Lansing-based organization that focuses on conserving and protecting Michigan’s natural resources. Before this, Eichinger worked for the DNR.
“Dan is a trusted leader in the conservation of Michigan’s abundant natural resources and outdoor heritage,” Whitmer said. “He has the broad experience needed to bring innovative ideas and also successful implementation of conservation efforts and recreation opportunities here in the state.”
McDowell is a Rudyard farmer and former State Representative who owns and operates McDowell Brothers Farm and McDowell Hay Inc. with his brothers Bob and Ron. Previously, McDowell served on the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and as a State Representative for the 107th District.
“A lifelong farmer and public servant, Gary has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing our state’s agricultural industry as well as critical insights on rural development opportunities throughout Michigan,” Whitmer said.