Jim Swenson said the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has a great responsibility to serve the public and the state's outdoor resources, and it will be his goal to help carry the agency's mission forward when he becomes the new deputy director.
He has been administrator of the parks division since May 2014, leading the team that welcomes millions of visitors to the state parks. Bob Bergholz, an assistant parks administrator, will become the interim parks administrator.
Swenson said it's going to be tough to leave his parks job, but he's looking forward to developing new relationships as he works with Director Tim McCoy and others associated with Game and Parks.
"I am fortunate and step away fully confident that the parks division remains in good hands," he said. "We've developed a fantastic team. Parks operations will not miss a beat and will continue to receive administrative support."
Swenson, a 59-year-old native of Oakland, begins his new duties Monday. He'll coordinate with McCoy on budgeting, partnership development, public and legislative actions, and working with the various divisions of Game and Parks.
"Jim brings a forward-looking and positive culture of collaboration to establish relationships to achieve our mission," McCoy said. "He is passionate about our resources and providing opportunities for Nebraskans and visitors alike to make memories in the outdoors."
Swenson came to the agency in 1983, working as a seasonal employee for the parks and resource services divisions before gaining a full-time position in 1986. His first job was as superintendent at Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area. He later became eastern region parks manager before being selected parks administrator.
Nebraska's state parks celebrated their 100th anniversary this year, and Swenson said managing them will always be in his blood. But he's ready for the next challenge.
"Serving the public and fostering the diverse outdoor recreation opportunities that highlight the great resources of our state is my passion," he said. "I am grateful for the opportunity, as well as the team and the many partners that join in that mission."