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Contact: Patty Rooney, 402-661-1532
OMAHA, NEB. — Pete Swisher, formerly Chief Park Ranger at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (NEM) in St. Louis, Mo., has been named the new Superintendent for Herbert Hoover National Historic Site (NHS) in West Branch, Iowa. He has served in the position in an acting capacity since mid-December, replacing Cheryl Schreier, now Superintendent at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, who transferred in September 2010. Swisher will take this new position effective February 27.
“Pete’s broad range of experience in many facets of park management, from cultural resource management to interpretation and law enforcement, makes him highly suited to this leadership position at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site,” said Ernest Quintana, Director of the National Park Service’s (NPS) 13-state Midwest Region. “We look forward to working with Pete as the newest member of the Midwest management team.”
Swisher’s 18-year NPS career began with back-to-back summer seasons as a Park Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., Ozark National Scenic Riverways, Mo., and at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harper’s Ferry, Iowa. He took his first permanent position in 1994 as a Park Ranger at Lincoln Home NHS, Springfield, Ill., and transferred to Mount Rushmore National Memorial as Park Ranger in 2005. In 2006, Swisher became Chief Park Ranger at Scotts Bluff National Monument (NM) in Gering, Neb., before taking the Chief Park Ranger position at Jefferson NEM in 2008.
Swisher was instrumental in stabilizing a growing attrition rate among law enforcement staff at Jefferson NEM by launching a new recruitment program to identify and appoint recruits from the St. Louis area, thereby filling vacancies quickly and infusing local residential talent into the park’s corps of rangers. He also modified the park’s security checkpoint operations, resulting in increased efficiency, greater control, reduced wait time for visitors, and a reduction in complaints.
As Chief Park Ranger at Scotts Bluff NM, Swisher was instrumental in changing the emphasis of the park’s interpretive program, resulting in increased visitation, greater public access to the park’s museum collections, and the ability of staff to tell a more cohesive story. While at the park, he was accepted into and completed the Leadership Scottsbluff Program, designed to provide emerging leaders an opportunity to hone professional skills and network with professionals from area industries.
Swisher also served as a Squad Leader on the NPS Midwest Region’s Special Events and Tactical Team from 1998 to 2005, and received the NPS Midwest Region’s Harry Yount Award for Excellence in Rangering in 2004.
“I am very much looking forward to the opportunities presented at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and in working with the community of West Branch to honor Iowa’s President.” Swisher said. “It’s exciting to return to the great state of Iowa and to preserve a part of its heritage.”
A Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, native, Swisher earned his Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., graduating with Honors, and received a Departmental Distinguished Alumni Award from the University in 2010. Swisher is married to Karin (Love), formerly of Canton, Ill., and they are the proud parents of two sons, aged 9 and 5 years, and a 22-month-old daughter.
Herbert Hoover NHS was established to commemorate the life of this uncommon man. The site includes the cottage where Hoover was born, a blacksmith shop similar to the one owned by his father, West Branch’s first one room schoolhouse; the Friends Meetinghouse where the Hoover Family worshipped; and several homes of the era. Also located on the grounds are the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library-Museum, the Hoover Presidential Library Association, the gravesites of the President and Mrs. Hoover, and an 81-acre tallgrass prairie.