WASHINGTON – National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis has selected Peggy O’Dell to serve as the agency’s deputy director for operations. She will assume her new duties on January 31, replacing Dan Wenk who has been named superintendent of Yellowstone National Park.
O’Dell will have a major role in managing the National Park Service's annual budget of $3.1 billion and more than 20,000 employees that serve in 394 national parks and offices around the nation. She will oversee every aspect of park operations including the preservation and protection of 84 million acres, 100 million museum objects, 27,000 historic structures, and 85,000 miles of rivers and streams, as well as recreation, education, and hospitality services for the more than 285 million people who visit national parks every year, generating $12 billion in local economic impacts. Beyond parks, O'Dell will have responsibility for the National Park Service's community-based historic preservation programs from the National Register of Historic Places, to national heritage areas, to a tax credit program that annually leverages more than $5 billion in private investment to rehabilitate historic buildings for new uses.
“Peggy O’Dell knows how to gets things done,” said Jarvis. “Throughout her 30 year career, she has tackled tough issues with superb judgment and an unwavering dedication to the mission of the National Park Service. She is both an excellent manager and a proven leader who is able to clearly articulate a vision that motivates her colleagues and employees to succeed. Peggy will bring tremendous experience and a willingness to learn to a position that requires both."
"I am honored to serve with Director Jarvis to help him lead the National Park Service forward to our centennial in 2016," said O'Dell. "We have extraordinary employees, amazing partners, dedicated volunteers, and millions of people who come to us to relax, learn, have fun, and for help in revitalizing their own communities. The opportunity to work with all of our stakeholders and serve the American people who have entrusted us with our nation's treasures is both humbling and exciting." O’Dell has served as regional director of the National Capital Region for the past two years and before that was superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, DC. She began her National Park Service career as a seasonal interpreter at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis while attending college at the University of Missouri where she earned a B.A. in History. O’Dell managed the interpretation and education programs at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Missouri, served as superintendent of Jewel Cave National Monument in South Dakota, and was deputy manager of the National Park Service's interpretive design center in West Virginia.