Conservation Commission News

Chris Pettit named executive director of Conservation Commission

Chris Pettit named executive director of Conservation Commission

Pettit will begin to lead the agency that helps to coordinate conservation districts and voluntary conservation programs starting in March

During the Jan. 2022 business meeting, Chris Pettit was announced as the new executive director for the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC). He will begin Mar. 1 and will officially take the reins from interim director Kirk Robinson starting Mar. 16, 2022. They will work together from Mar. 1-15 to ensure a smooth transition.

“Through an extensive process, the Conservation Commission board is very excited to welcome Chris as the new executive director to the agency,” said Daryl Williams, Chair of the SCC Board of Commissioners. “With so many excellent candidates, we had a hard choice to make. The board was ultimately convinced of Chris’s experience and passion for conservation and know he will bring energy and a fresh perspective to continue creating meaningful conservation across this beautiful state.”

Pettit is skilled in environmental policy and law, water resources, land use, government relations, and public administration, among many other issues relevant to the agency’s work in Washington. He comes to the SCC from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where he served as director of the Office of Agricultural Water Policy.

Pettit said it’s been a blessing to implement governance programs and policies to address water and environmental issues in Florida, but the prospect of working with Washington’s 45 conservation districts to undertake new challenges and opportunities across the state’s diverse landscapes is one he couldn’t resist.

“I’m thrilled to join the partnership of people in Washington who are working to keep our natural resources and farmland healthy,” said Pettit. “I am hopeful the knowledge I gained during my experience in Florida combined with the insight I’ll glean from new partners in Washington will lead to a holistic appreciation of the approaches necessary to conserve vital environmental resources while ensuring the continued vitality of agricultural producers and communities.”

Originally from Chicago, Pettit received his undergraduate degrees in political history/economics and social theory from New College of Florida. He has a law degree from the University of Florida, an LLM from the University of Cape Town, and undertook doctoral studies at the University of London.

This appointment concludes an extensive and months-long search for the agency’s next director. A search committee conducted multiple stages of interviews and provided opportunities for SCC staff and conservation districts to submit feedback. The Board of Commissioners made the final appointment during their Jan. 20 business meeting.

“It has been my pleasure to lead this fantastic agency and work with our numerous partners over the last few months, during this extraordinary time,” said the outgoing interim director Kirk Robinson. “However, I am excited for the opportunity to work with Chris Pettit as he transitions in as the new executive director for SCC.”

“With Chris’s background in public service, I am sure he will continue to build on the great work being implemented by our conservation districts all over the state.”