COLUMBUS – As Columbiana County native Sean Logan walked the 30-foot hallway toward his new office last week, he was both inspired and humbled by the portraits of the individuals enshrined in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Hall of Fame.
Johnnie Appleseed. Louis Bromfield. Bob Teater. The wooden plaques, which each bear a sketch of the honoree, fill four rows on either side of the hall that leads to the ODNR director’s office – Logan’s new home.
“There’s a lot of people who have gone before me who have blazed the trail,” Logan said. “I’ve walked down that hall before, but it felt so tremendous this time to have a shared interest in improving Ohio’s natural resources.”
Ohio’s new governor, Ted Strickland, appointed Logan Jan. 2 to lead the agency.
“I never realized how strong a passion it is for me,” Logan said. “You deal with them [natural resources] in such small, incremental parts. This is the big picture now”
Background. Logan, a Columbiana County commissioner since 2001, served as a state representative from 1990 to 2000. In the Ohio House, he served on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for six years.
Logan, a graduate of Muskingum College, also holds a law degree from Capital University.
He and his wife, Melissa, have three children.
In early December, Strickland had named Logan, a Democrat, to his transition team as coordinator of the ODNR agency review. Logan led meetings with current staff members and stakeholders to review the department’s budget, regulations and performance and prepare a report for the governor-elect by Dec. 29.
“I didn’t expect to write the report for myself,” Logan admitted. “I really didn’t expect it to be me.”
Advice. For encouragement, Logan turned to two individuals whose faces appear on those hall of fame plaques.
Logan met Dec. 31 with Joe Sommer of Canton, who served the ODNR as director from 1985 to 1991, to gain his perspective on the ODNR and its mission. Logan also talked with Bob Teater, director from 1975 to 1983.
Their talks were “inspiring,” Logan said, “that I could do the job and do it well.”
Last week, Logan also met with outgoing ODNR director Sam Speck, ODNR assistant directors and department directors, saying all were “warm, welcoming and professional.”
Protection vs. use. He’s hoping to continue the department’s mission of stewardship, and that means both protection and wise use of the state’s natural resources, he explains.
“There are inherent conflicts with those two charges,” Logan admits, “and how we manage that conflict will be the legacy we leave.”
Logan credits his experience in the 1990s developing Ohio’s early farmland preservation legislation, and serving on the state’s farmland preservation task force, with reinforcing his interest in natural resources stewardship.
“I learned that competition for land is never going to decrease and how we manage that competition is how we manage the legacy,” Logan said.
And that juggling act matches the mission of the state department he’s now charged with leading.
“I’m ready to get started.
(Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell can be reached at 800-837-3419 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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