New director for Puget Sound Partnership

Gov. Chris Gregoire Friday announced she has appointed Gerry O’Keefe as executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership. O’Keefe is currently the interim executive director of PSP, and replaces David Dicks, who resigned in December to accept a position at the University of Washington.

“Even during these tough economic times, we need to invest in the health of our Puget Sound,” Gregoire said. “Our economy depends on it – whether that’s our seafood industry, our tourism industry, even our shipping industry. Gerry’s unique experience gives him a strong understanding of how critically important it is to restore our waters. I know under his leadership, the Puget Sound Partnership will continue to successfully carry out its mission.”

“I am honored by Governor Gregoire’s confidence in me,” O’Keefe said. “Her vision and tireless support for the work of this Partnership have positioned the region to restore our precious resource to health. It’s now our task, as an agency and as a people blessed by the beauty of this place, to make this vision a reality. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

O’Keefe joined the Puget Sound Partnership last March as deputy director of the agency. Prior to his work at PSP, he spent more than 8 years working at the Department of Ecology, capped by the establishment of the Columbia River Water Supply Program in 2007 and related water supply agreements with tribal governments in 2008. After leaving Ecology O’Keefe joined the

Grant County Public Utility District as its director of natural resources, where he led a large-scale environmental mitigation program.

The Puget Sound Partnership was created in 2007 to pull together citizens, governments, tribes, scientists and businesses to restore and protect Puget Sound to ensure both a thriving Puget Sound economy and a clean and healthy ecosystem.