Midwest Region


Midwest Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley Wins Prestigious Ira Gabrielson Award

July 25, 2014

Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.
Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.

The Gabrielson Award is an honor that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Advanced Leadership Development Program bestows on one Service employee each year. It’s truly a special award—the recipient is nominated and chosen by his/her peers.  

The award is named after the first Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ira Gabrielson, and recognizes an individual currently within the Service that best exemplifies the leadership qualities demonstrated by Dr. Gabrielson during his 11-year tenure at the helm of the Bureau of Biological Survey, the precursor of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The key leadership qualities used to evaluate nominees are: vision, determination, commitment, integrity, and strong management skills. Dr. Gabrielson was known for consistently demonstrating these qualities, and so is this year’s award recipient, Charlie Wooley.  

Vision and Determination

Throughout his 35 year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Charlie has consistently cultivated and maintained a progressive and forward-looking vision and viewpoint for achieving effective natural resource management. This includes implementing a management model that incorporates broad and consistent collaboration with a diverse collection of partners and stakeholders, informed by state-of-the-art science and policy, to achieve aggressive conservation objectives. Under Charlie’s leadership in the Midwest Region, this approach to collective, multi-partisan problem-solving has been especially successful in ensuring the Service’s ability to be a federal leader on resource issues in the Great Lakes basin, where jurisdictional and geo-political boundaries encompass eight states, two Canadian provinces, and numerous tribes; and include Canadian and U.S. federal interests. 

Commitment and Integrity

Throughout his tenure with the agency, Charlie has consistently supported the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and upheld the principles and values that are the foundation of the organization. Charlie consistently instills the importance of trust, respect, honesty, and professionalism in each and every one of his staff. Countless employees of the Midwest Region - from senior managers to seasonal technicians - know Charlie by name as a result of his commitment to, and caring for, the people who are in the field and on the water, working year-round to achieve conservation delivery to benefit fish and wildlife resources. Charlie holds himself accountable to make the time for face-face meetings with field staff during his travels throughout the Region’s eight states, ensuring strong connections between the many field stations and refuges, and the Regional Office.

Strong Management/Leadership Skills

Charlie's active leadership with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been marked by his ability to build consensus and inspire members of the conservation community to apply common sense solutions to some of the nation’s most difficult challenges. His capability in identifying limiting factors affecting fish and wildlife resources has led to significant restoration milestones, particularly in the Great Lakes region. Charlie was instrumental in establishing the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, an innovative cooperative that restores fishery resources from losses caused by the operation of hydroelectric facilities. He has also led field, regional, and national efforts to identify natural resources injured by contaminants, recover damages from those responsible, and undertake restorations. On behalf of the Department of the Interior, he negotiated one of the earliest, large settlements nationally for the Saginaw River in Michigan and continues to lead Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration program activities across the region. Charlie has also effectively advocated for fish and wildlife resources as a major priority and deliverable via the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Charlie has a special affinity and appreciation for the day-to-day work of field biologists across all organizations. He makes himself available to all employees and his coaching, guidance, and caring are hallmarks of a generous leader. 

Congratulations to Midwest Region Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley, winner of the 2014 Ira Gabrielson award.

Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.

Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.
Charlie Wooley. Photo by USFWS.


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Last updated: June 15, 2016