Governor Sonny Perdue recently announced that Chris Clark, Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA), is his recommended choice to succeed Noel Holcomb as Commissioner of DNR when Holcomb retires in April 2009. Commissioner Holcomb announced to the Board of Natural Resources his retirement plans at the September meeting of the DNR Board.
“Chris has demonstrated his talent and commitment to Georgia’s citizens during his tenure as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and as Executive Director of GEFA,” said Governor Perdue. “I appreciate Commissioner Holcomb’s long service to this state, and I am confident Chris will continue the Department’s legacy of being a champion of preserving our most precious resources.”
Under the Georgia Constitution, the DNR Board appoints both the Commissioner and the Director of the Environmental Protection Division.
By making his recommendation to the Board now, Governor Perdue hopes to set the stage for a smooth transition given the state’s current budget challenges and the complexity of the programs and issues statutorily assigned to DNR and the Environmental Protection Division.
“While Commissioner Holcomb will continue to serve as DNR Commissioner until his effective retirement date, I expect Chris, Noel and Dr. Carol Couch will work closely together as DNR and EPD continue to manage our response to the ongoing drought, implement the Statewide Water Plan, find appropriate spending reductions and protect and preserve our state’s natural resources,” Governor Perdue said.
This will be the first time in the history of DNR that the department’s commissioner was not promoted from within the organization.
As Executive Director of GEFA, Clark has led a number of important initiatives since being appointed to that position in 2007. GEFA serves as the state environmental bank by providing financing for water and sewer infrastructure projects and is home to the State Energy Office. During his tenure, he served on the State Water Council and helped launch a new Water Supply Division at GEFA to assist communities with reservoirs development. Clark also led the creation of the Governor’s Energy Challenge which seeks to reduce energy use by state government by 15 percent, as well as the Conserve Georgia initiative which is the state’s conservation clearing house (www.conservegeorgia.org). He also launched Georgia’s Energy Innovation Center that works to bring alternative energy projects to the state.
Additionally, he is Governor Perdue’s proxy on the Southern Growth Policy Board and represents Georgia as a commissioner on the Southeast Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste.
Prior to his appointment at GEFA, Clark served for four years as Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Among his highlights at GDEcD was the recruitment of a new Kia Motors manufacturing plant to West Point, Georgia.
Clark is a native of Fitzgerald, earning a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University, and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia College and State University. Clark resides near Peachtree City in Fayette County with his wife Tiffany and son Christian.
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