Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.
Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.

June 2019

New faces highlight our busy field season

As we enter our busy field season and forge ahead with on-the-ground projects, we are fortunate to have recently welcomed 10 new project leaders. Some have worked in the Midwest for years and are now entering exciting new roles and others are joining us from elsewhere. Learn more about these project leaders and what they are looking forward to in their new roles.

It's also my pleasure to welcome Thao Tran to our team! Thao will be serving as our Acting Deputy Regional Director on a 90-day detail as part of her Senior Executive Service (SES) Career Development Training. One of her early activities was honoring this year’s recipient of the annual Torch Award. Also, please read below to learn more about Thao and her background.

This month we had the privilege of hosting the national JAO leadership in the Regional Office as they continue to reshape our agency for future success. As I spoke with them, I encouraged the team to look at things from a “customer perspective” and develop the systems needed to make sure folks have the resources they need to get the job done right. As we move forward, I suggested that we should not spend as much time looking in the rear view mirror, that small mirror that looks back to where we’ve been, but rather use the huge windshield in front of us looking forward as we drive ahead toward success.

I was also fortunate to recently spend some time with members of our ABA staff to provide an update and to listen to their concerns and ideas as we move forward nationally with the JAO and this new way of doing business. I greatly value your insights and look forward to continuing these discussions.

We also had the chance recently to celebrate you and your accomplishments during our annual Employee Awards event. Congratulations to all of our award winners! Learn more and keep up the great work!

Finally, last week we had the honor of hosting Secretary Bernhardt and Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge as they visited to announce the national expansion of public hunting and fishing access on more than 1.4 million acres of land. It was a great day for the Midwest Region as both Secretary Bernhardt and Margaret had a tremendous visit. I want to send a big thanks to all refuge staff who worked hard to make it a successful day! Learn more.

Remember to please keep safe out there, especially those dealing with the seasonal deluge which has become our extended flood season. I remind each of you not to become complacent. Always follow safety procedures and please speak up if you are concerned or something is not safe. We value you and want everyone to stay safe.

Enjoy this month’s Inside Region 3!



Acting Regional Director Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.
Acting Deputy Regional Director Thao Tran. Photo by Larry Dean/USFWS.

Region welcomes Acting Deputy
Regional Director Thao Tran

The Midwest Region is happy to welcome Thao Tran who is currently serving as our Acting Deputy Regional Director for 90 days as part of the Senior Executive Service (SES) Career Development program.

Thao joins us from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Wildland Fire where she serves as the Director for Budget and Performance Management. She brings with her a wealth of experience including overseeing the Department’s $1 billion budget to support an integrated and cohesive wildland fire management program across the country.

"I'm very grateful to have this opportunity to work in Region 3," Thao said. "I am humbled and inspired by the technical expertise and commitment that I've seen so far, and I hope to do my part to contribute to and support some of the great work taking place here."

"Region 3's stellar reputation is well known, and I am excited to learn from everyone and see what success looks like in the field and on the ground," she added. "Thank you for the warm welcome from everyone I've met. I look forward to meeting more people and learning about the important conservation work you all are doing."

Thao has also served as a commissioned foreign service officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which included positions in the Philippines, Uganda and Egypt.

"Both my husband and son were able to join me for this trip, which added some unique planning elements and coordination to accommodate all of us. We are happy to be here and look forward to getting out and enjoying the summer in Minnesota."

Thao holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Last updated: June 8, 2020