I recently retired, and grateful and humbled to have spent most of my career (35 years) at the DNR. More on all that later.
I 'popped' into the world (Mom said I was in a rush to make my appearance) one October a few years back, at University Hospital in Iowa City, IA. My Dad was a farm-boy from NW Iowa and Mom a city-girl from Waterloo, IA. They met at the University of Iowa while going to Dental and Nursing schools, respectively. Upon graduation, Dad was commissioned in the Army, so we lived various bases/cities around the United States, and two tours in Germany. Funny though, we would always come back to Iowa for vacations at the farm - my Midwest roots run deep!
Not surprising, I went to the University of Iowa - Go Hawkeyes! Because of my love of science and nature, my bachelors degree was in Zoology with a minor in chemistry (1975). Being practical, and not wanting to be an academic, I got my Masters of Science in Civil/Environmental engineering (1978). My focus was on electric power plant systems and their waste and water management. Shortly after starting at the DNR, I co-authored a paper on Wisconsin Utilities and their wastewater systems at the Purdue Industrial Conference. My humble beginnings as an environmental engineer in the Industrial Wastewater Section!
In addition to the various engineer positions, I was the Physical/Chemical Unit Leader in the Industrial Wastewater Section and the Superfund Program Unit Leader in the Environmental Response Bureau. I took a 2-year leave from the DNR in the mid-80s to consult in Iowa and Minnesota on landfill expansions and industrial waste site investigations and clean-up. In 1996 I became the assistant bureau director for the DNR Water Management Bureau and in 1998 the Bureau Director for the Waste & Materials Management Program.
Starting in 2008, I was the deputy administrator for the Air, Waste & Remediation Division, with a short period as division administrator of the same. I retired from the deputy administrator position in January, 2015.
During my career, I served as the US co-chair of the Pollution Prevention Implementation Task Force of the Lake Superior Bi-national Program. I was also the Secretary's representative for 8 years on the national Environmental Council of States, chairing the Planning Committee of that organization for 2 years.
An amazing career serving the citizens of Wisconsin and her environment were not the only benefits of working at the DNR - I met my husband - Mike Hammers. We've been married almost 30 years, and have 2 exceptional sons (yes, I'm biased) - Paul and Mark - and one amazing daughter-in-law, Rae. Paul and Rae are graphic designers in local firms, and Mark is an air pollution engineer at DNR - Fitchburg. Imagine that!
Retirement is full of embroidery work, biking, gardening, women's hockey games and volunteering. I continue to serve on various church committees, as I did throughout my DNR career. Now I'm also co-chair and member of several committees of the Madison Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America (EGA). My stitched work includes pulled thread/drawn thread, cross stitch, counted canvas, bead work and Temari Balls.
Several of my pieces were shown in the annual Madison EGA show last fall. I also started regular volunteer work at Olbrich Gardens as a conservancy greeter/docent.
I look forward to more volunteer opportunities, many more bike and SCUBA trips with my husband Mike, getting my gardens under control and finishing a few more stitching projects!