Incoming Gov. Whitmer Appoints Department Heads

This week, incoming Governor Whitmer announced several Department Heads;


Paul Ajegba – Michigan Department of Transportation Director (MDOT) – He has been an MDOT employee for 28 year starting in the Engineering Development Program and rising through the ranks to his most recent position as Metro Region Engineer. Paul was also named the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ Public Agency Executive of the Year in 2017. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas and his Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan.

Liesl Eichler Clark – Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Director – She is the co-founder and partner of a policy consulting firm, 5 Lakes Energy. She has also served as President of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and as Deputy Director for Energy Programs at the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from MSU’s James Madison College and a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University.

Dan Eichinger – Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Director – Currently serves as Executive Director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs. He previously served in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

Gary McDowell – Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director– A farmer who owns and operates McDowell Brothers Farm and McDowell Hay, Inc. with his brothers. He also served for 22 year on the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and 6 years as a State Representative for the 107th District. He attended Lake Superior State University.

Captain Joe Gasper – Michigan State Police Director (MSP) – He joined the MSP in 1998 and currently serves as Emergency Manager. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Northern Michigan University.

Heidi Washington – Michigan Department of Corrections Director (MDOC) – She will continue to serve in her current role. Under Washington’s leadership, MDOC has seen a significant decrease in its prison population and has implemented a skilled trades training program to help prisoners complete career and technical education and be better prepared to find jobs upon release. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, as well as a Law Degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Brigadier General Paul Rogers – Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Director – He most recently served as the Deputy Commander of the 46th Military Police Command. Prior to becoming Deputy Commander, he served as the 46th Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and the Chief of Staff. Having deployed to Iraq in 2005 as the Battalion Commander of the 507th Engineer Battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, BG Rogers commanded a total of 823 soldiers, 139 marines and 114 airmen in combat operations during the deployment.

Orlene Hawks - Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Director – She currently serves as Director of the Office of Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) where she has worked for the last five years. Prior to the OCO, she managed the Quality and Program Services section in the Michigan Department of Community Health (now MDHHS). She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University.

Anita Fox - Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director (DIFS) – She brings more than 30 years of experience in the legal field to the role, having specialized in litigating a wide range of business and insurance issues. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Kalamazoo College then graduated Cum Laude from the University of Michigan Law School. She also holds a State of Michigan Secondary Teaching Certificate.

Lisa McCormick - Office of the Children’s Ombudsman – She has been a long-time criminal prosecutor and child advocate. She served a 21-year tenure at the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, where she ultimately became Chief Assistant Prosecutor. McCormick also founded Small Talk Children’s Advocacy Center with the belief that every child deserves a safe place for healing. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and graduated Juris Doctorate, Cum Laude, from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

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