AFWA Welcomes Kurt Thiede as the New Government Affairs Director

June 10, 2021

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies welcomes Kurt Thiede as the new Government Affairs Director, effective July 14.  Mr. Thiede will oversee and direct the legislative work of the Association before the U.S. Congress and the public policy work of the Association before the federal Executive Branch agencies.  The Association will be saying goodbye to Jen Mock Schaeffer who will be moving back to her home state of Texas. Jen has worked tirelessly over her 19-year tenure to advance sound conservation legislation and policy that complements the goals and missions of the state fish and wildlife agencies.

Mr. Thiede spent 18 years with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, including serving as the Deputy Secretary from 2015 to 2017. Mr. Thiede most recently served as the Regional Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. Throughout his 20-year state and federal career he has promoted collaboration, creative problem-solving, common-sense decision-making, and active stakeholder engagement.

“I am excited to join the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies as the Government Affairs Director,” said Thiede. “I have the utmost respect for the roles of states in managing the natural resources within their jurisdictions. I look forward to representing their interests with policy makers in Washington, DC and serving as a resource to aid them in their important work.”

Sara Parker Pauley, the President of the Association and Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, noted that “This is a high-profile leadership position of immense importance to the work of state fish and wildlife agencies. Kurt Thiede has a strong commitment to, and record of success in, managing the complexities of fish and wildlife policy advocacy.”

“Kurt is a thoughtful professional and collaborative leader; he will be a great addition to the AFWA team and family – he will fit right in – and I look forward to welcoming him to the office next month” said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Mr. Thiede has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife management and biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and in 2016 he received an outstanding alumnus award from their school of natural resources. He is active in the outdoors and enjoys all forms of hunting, fishing, camping, bird watching, photography, and hiking with his wife, and three children. A native of Wisconsin, Kurt and his family will be relocating to the Washington, DC area this summer.