NIU alumnus Steve Ellis has been named deputy director for operations of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Ellis, who holds a master’s degree in geography from NIU, is a veteran land manager.
In his new role – the agency’s senior career position – Ellis will oversee operations for the management of more than 245 million acres of public lands, primarily in the West, as well as nearly one-third of the nation’s subsurface mineral estate. He has been acting in this position since July 2013.
“Steve has a deep knowledge of the BLM and a genuine commitment to fairness and balance. He has worked at all levels of the organization and in posts ranging from Alaska to Idaho to D.C.,” Principal Deputy Director Neil Kornze said. “His commitment to our country’s public lands and the people who depend on them is exceptional. The BLM and our public lands will be well served with Steve in this crucial position.”
Ellis, who has spent 21 years as a line officer in the BLM and the Forest Service, most recently served as BLM-Idaho state director.
Among other Forest Service positions held by Ellis, he was the forest supervisor for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in Oregon. Ellis has also held numerous jobs throughout the BLM, including acting associate district manager in Las Vegas, district manager of Oregon’s Lakeview District and acting deputy state director in Alaska.
He has extensive wildfire experience in the West, including serving as an incident commander and has worked as a budget officer in the agency’s headquarters office in Washington, D.C. During his time in the nation’s capital, Ellis was selected and served as a Congressional Fellow in the U.S. Senate.
Ellis grew up on a family farm in Illinois. He and his wife, Linda, a family nurse practitioner, have raised three children. He is a licensed private pilot, and with his wife enjoys riding and packing horses in western Idaho and eastern Oregon.