Nancy Hadley, chair of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, today announced that the Commission has selected Rodney Sando, former director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, to be director of the Department of Fish and Game. Mr. Sando's selection, which was unanimously supported by the seven Commissioners, completes a nationwide search that began last October. Said Hadley: "Since the beginning of this process, the Commission has been united in its determination to hire someone who has successfully led an agency during times of change. We wanted a 'CEO type' who will make the business-like decisions that capitalize sportsmens' dollars and agency resources to produce the most opportunity for Idaho's outdoor enthusiasts. In Rod we have found that individual."
Sando, 58, a self-described "workaholic," grew up on a family farm and confesses to "having nothing but free time ever since!" He served as head of Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources during all eight years of former Governor Arnie Carlson's administration. During his tenure, Sando earned the support of legislators, sportsmen, commercial interests, tribal nations and the agency's employees. He gained a national reputation for visionary leadership on natural resources issues. In his home state, Minnesota, he became known for crafting creative yet pragmatic solutions to public policy conflicts. In addition to fish and game issues, as head of DNR Sando was responsible for forest management, water resources, parks and recreation, trails and waterways, minerals, and fish and game law enforcement.
Dr. Fred Wood, Commission member from Burley, commented: "We recognized that we were looking for someone who thinks strategically about fish and game issues, who is skillful at managing the 'nuts and bolts' of a large bureaucracy, and who has the knowledge of and commitment to address the diverse issues we face here in Idaho. Rod Sando demonstrated to us that he has all three of these qualities."
Added Hadley: "One of the things that most impressed us about Rod was his commitment to expand the role of communities and our constituents in decision-making. His instincts and experience tell him that the agency's success will depend on involving local groups and the employees of the department who are closest to the ground in developing the agency's strategic direction and actions needed to make that direction reality. His desire to share power with our stakeholders was a major factor in his selection."
Sando is no stranger to the West. He spent three summers fighting fires in the West, including one summer as a smokejumper in Missoula, Montana. He also gained experience in western issues by serving as President of the Western States Land Commissioner's Association, an association of state trust land managers from twenty-two western states. Sando is an avid hunter and angler who enjoys all aspects of the outdoors. "I am very excited about the opportunity to live and work in the great state of Idaho. It has world-class fish and wildlife resources and I am very pleased that the Commission has the confidence in me to do the job," said Sando.
Sando, who is currently teaching at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, is expected to begin work in early April.