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Skvarla names DENR team

Secretary John Skvarla Wednesday named his team to run the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. As expected, former state Rep. Mitch Gillespie, a small business owner and a long-time critic of DENR, was named assistant secretary for the environment. Brad Ives was named assistant secretary for natural resources. He is currently vice president for corporate development at Semprius, a manufacturer of solar panels in Research Triangle Park. Neal Robbins was named director of legislative and intergovernmental affairs. He is an attorney with Robbins Law in Winston-Salem, where his practice focused on debtor-creditor issues. Lacy Presnell, a Raleigh attorney, was named general counsel. Mary Penny Thompson, who had been chief deputy, was named acting assistant secretary for administration.

DENR gets new #2

Mary Penny Thompson has been named chief deputy of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, effective May 1.

She will succeed Manly Wilder, who will retire effective April 30th after a 43-year career of working in federal and state government.

Thompson, who is expert on environment law and a career state employee, will be responsible for coordinating the agency's budget and management functions with its programmatic functions.

“Mary Penny Thompson's commitment to North Carolina's environment and natural resources, along with her exemplary legal and managerial experience with the department, make her an obvious choice for this important position,” said Dee Freeman, the DENR secretary.

She has worked for DENR for eight years. Since 2009 she has been assistant secretary for information technology and general counsel. Before joining the department, she worked in the attorney general's office handling coastal, water, land soil and water conservation and licensing board issues.

She grew up in a military family and went to high school in Fayetteville.  Thompson received her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from N.C. State University and a law degree from Tulane University.

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