This week, the Department of the Interior announced the addition of six appointees to join the Department. These individuals will fill key positions throughout the Department, including in the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs.
“We are building out a team of qualified, experienced leaders to move the administration’s agenda forward,” said Secretary Zinke. “As we continue to bring in the best our country has to offer, I’m confident we can continue to deliver results for the American people.”
Jason Larrabee – Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks
Jason Larrabee joins Interior after serving 7 years as Chief of Staff for Representative Jeff Denham (CA-10) in the U.S. House of Representatives. His business and policy experience cover administration, agriculture, appropriations, budgets, energy, environmental organizations, finance, natural resources, non-profits, trade and transportation, and he has over 25 years’ experience immersed in California and western water policies. Mr. Larrabee, a lifelong outdoor enthusiast, was born and raised in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California and possess an undergraduate degree in Geography from California State University, Chico and a Master in Business Administration from Drexel University.
Austin Ewell – Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
Prior to his appointment, Austin Ewell served as a regulatory consultant on a variety of projects, including water rights, development entitlements, natural resource mitigation and has professional experience working and collaborating with the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Mr. Ewell has more than 15 years of experience within the natural resources, agriculture, land development, legal, and regulatory fields and has specialized in water matters at the state, federal and tribal level. A native of California, Mr. Ewell earned his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Southern California.
Brian Steed – Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management
Dr. Brian Steed has an extensive background in natural resource and environmental policy. He joins the Department of Interior after serving as Chief of Staff for Representative Chris Stewart (UT-2). His prior work experience includes teaching economics and political science and researching natural resource and environmental governance at Utah State University and working as an attorney in Utah. He holds a JD and Certificate in Natural Resource and Environmental Law from the University of Utah and a PhD in Public Policy with an emphasis in Environmental Policy from Indiana University.
Cally Younger – Counselor for the Bureau of Land Management
Cally Younger joins Interior having just served as counsel to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho. While serving the Governor, she primarily focused on topics ranging from natural resource and land management issues to government transparency to administrative law. Ms. Younger received her JD from the University Of Idaho College Of Law.
Benjamin Cassidy – Senior Deputy Director for Intergovernmental and External Affairs
Benjamin Cassidy joins the Department of the Interior after working as a Federal Liaison for the National Rifle Association. Previously, he worked as the Young Guns Liaison and Call to Arms Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Mr. Cassidy earned a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.
Kathleen Benedetto – Senior Advisor to the Bureau of Land Management
Kathleen Benedetto is a professional geologist with extensive Congressional and legislative experience spanning 23 years, with nearly 13 years as professional staff on the Natural Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives. While her career has brought her to Washington, D.C., her credentials were forged in the American West. Ms. Benedetto received her degree in geology from Oregon State University at Corvallis and went on to work in that field as a consulting geologist throughout the Western and Southeastern U.S. As her work brought her into the government affairs arena, she became interested in various laws and regulations affecting mineral development and, ultimately, how those laws affect access to public lands.