FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, AUG. 8, 2011
||Brian Long, director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
Owen named assistant commissioner of NCDA&CS
RALEIGH — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has named State Forester Wib Owen as an assistant commissioner of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Owen oversees the N.C. Forest Service, which is responsible for developing, protecting and managing forest resources in the state. Programs include reforestation services, forest fire prevention and suppression, and insect and disease control. The agency also is involved in seedling production at state nurseries, long-range forestry planning and technical development, water quality controls, urban forestry assistance, training, forestry education and support to volunteer fire departments. The service has about 800 permanent and seasonal employees.
Troxler said he changed Owen’s title in recognition of the scope of the Forest Service’s responsibilities and the importance of forest resources to the state’s agricultural economy. Owen is now a member of the department’s executive team, which includes the chief deputy commissioner and three other assistant commissioners.
“It’s important that the state forester report directly to me and be able to express his concerns about issues affecting our forest resources,” Troxler said. “I have complete confidence in Wib’s managerial skills and his knowledge of forestry.”
The General Assembly transferred the Forest Service to the NCDA&CS on July 1. The agency previously was part of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
A 33-year veteran of state government, Owen has served as state forester since 2007. He previously was assistant chief of the Wildlife Management Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. He holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and master’s degrees in wildlife biology from N.C. State University. He is a registered forester and member of the Society of American Foresters.