DAVIS – Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge has a new manager at the helm. Ron Hollis, started at Canaan Valley NWR Aug. 18 said he is glad to be in the Mountain State.
“About one year ago, I told my wife that I could hear the mountains calling my name, thinking that a job would open up in someplace like Montana or Colorado,” Hollis said. “After learning that this position in West Virginia would be open, my family and I decided to check out the area and ski for the first time in our lives. What was really exciting for us was the beautiful scenery, mild summers and outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the year.”
Hollis said he is excited for his new position which differs from those he has had in the past.
“My career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been as the assistant refuge manager or deputy project leader of very small refuges to very large ones,” he said. “This position is known as the de-facto refuge manager or alter ego, so I will have close interaction with the project leader on all types of issues. I will manage and coordinate the day-to-day of the refuge, which include supervision and development of staff, interaction with partners and the public in formal and informal means, and working with the regional office to complete requests as they would come up.”
In the midst of recent budget cuts, Hollis said he hopes to implement a plan to encourage those affected by the money constraints.
“The MEE program is an acronym that stands for motivating, empowering, and encouraging people,” Hollis said. “Motivating employees to continue to do their job amidst budget cuts, low staff levels and high workloads, and allow them to become better employees. Equipping staff with the tools, training and time they need to complete their job. Encouraging people to continue to become better at what they do while functioning as an integral part of a team. Each one of us could talk about the successes that we have had but not without mentioning the people that contributed to that accomplishment.”
Hollis said after graduating college, he worked as high school science teacher and basketball, volleyball, and football coach for eight years at three schools.
“Unfortunately the school I was teaching at wasn’t going to have a high school anymore, so I began searching for a new career,” he said. “That is when I began my career at USFWS as a student trainee for one year at White River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. After that I worked at Bon Secour NWR in Alabama as the Refuge Operations Specialist. From there I worked as the deputy project leader at Tensas River NWR in Louisiana. Then I continued my career as the deputy project leader at White River NWR”
Hollis said he enjoys woodworking, remodeling homes, teaching, hunting, fishing, participating in outdoor activities and spending time with his family.
“My wife, Ana, and two sons Isaiah and Miles, are as excited to be here in West Virginia as I am,” Hollis said. “My education consists of daily interaction with people who know this area better than me, but my post high school education consists of three degrees from accredited colleges.”
Hollis said he wants people to know that he will take time to become familiar with the area as well as the residents.
“I will try to become established with this community,” Hollis said. “I am going to continue to do what I have done for years, which is to be honest, thankful, positive, realistic and strive to make the place I work at a better place. Each day that I have the opportunity to get up in the morning, experience God’s creation, my wife, my family and people around me, it is a good day.”
Additional information about Hollis or the Canaan Valley NWR is available by calling 304-866-3858 or by email at Ron_Hollis@fws.gov.