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The National Park Service (NPS) has selected Brenda M. Waters, currently Acting Superintendent for Pea Ridge National Military Park (NMP) in Garfield, Ark., as Superintendent for William Howard Taft National Historic Site (NHS) in Cincinnati, Ohio.Waters succeeds Reggie Tiller, and begins this new assignment January 11, 2015.
“Brenda’s breadth of experience in multiple facets of management in parks, regional offices, and in the Washington office has developed her into an ideal leader for William Howard Taft National Historic Site,” said Patricia S. Trap, acting director for the NPS 13-state Midwest Region.
Waters began her NPS career in 2004 as Northern Rocky Mountain Exotic Plant Management Team Liaison based at Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. In 2008, she became Assistant Chief of Natural Resources and Director of the Great Lakes Research Learning Center at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Porter, Ind.Service in Washington, D.C., from 2012 to early 2014 followed when Waters was selected as the NPS’s 27th Bevinetto Congressional Fellow/Legislative Affairs Specialist.An acting assignment as Deputy Associate Regional Director for Natural Resources Stewardship and Science followed in the Midwest Regional Office in 2014, after which Waters took her current assignment at Pea Ridge NMP.
Waters considers her work in the Bevinetto Fellowship program a career highlight -- working with U.S. Senator (ret.) Jesse Frances (Jeff) Bingaman on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee, subcommittee on National Parks, during the 112th Congress and working with the NPS Director and Deputy Director. Two of many notable accomplishments were developing an amendment combining 14 NPS-related bills for park resource studies and national heritage areas and assisting Senator Bingaman to introduce bills such as S. 3300 Manhattan Project National Historical Park.Another career milestone was successfully advising and improving the relationship of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with its Sister Park during a 2-week international detail at Kampinoski National Park near Warsaw, Poland, in 2011.
Waters was the 2010 recipient of the Department of the Interior Partners in Conservation, National Geographic Society BioBlitz Program Award.She also played an intricate role in development and collaboration with the NPS Midwest Region Partnerships Office staff, NPS Washington Office Night Sky and Natural Sound Program leads, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial’s Superintendent to secure our partnership with and philanthropic donation from Musco Lighting Corporation for a sustainable lighting and energy efficiency demonstration project at Mount Rushmore National Memorial which will result in an 80 percent energy savings for the park’s lighting.
Waters says of this new leadership opportunity, “William Howard Taft National Historic Site is a wonderful park with incredible opportunities to engage our neighbors and partners within the greater Cincinnati and surrounding areas.I look forward to working with the park staff, partners, local residents, and communities to preserve the home of our 27th U.S. President and to welcome our visitors to learn firsthand about his extraordinary service to our country both as a former president and the 10th U.S. Supreme Court Justice.”
A Homedale, Idaho, native, Waters earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Boise State University and her Masters of Plant Science at the University of Idaho.She and husband, Chris, a Seattle, Wash., native, are parents to son Brandon, a computer and electrical engineer in Chesterton, Ind., and soon-to-be daughter-in-law Julie Ladd, a NPS Law Enforcement Ranger at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, and daughter Jessica (Bell), in Fairbanks, Alaska, with her husband Colin, who serves in the U.S. Army.The Waters’ are proud grandparents of 20-month-old Shelby Liberty Bell.
Waters enjoys traveling, the outdoors, square dancing, hiking, cooking, quilting, and gardening.Prior to her Federal service, she completed the apprentice Chef program at Harrah’s Casino in Reno, Nev., graduating at the top of her class, and has had the pleasure of cooking for such notables as Adam West, Brooke Shields, and Carole King.Authorized in 1969, William Howard Taft NHS commemorates the only man to serve both as President and as Chief Justice of the United States.Taft’s birthplace has been restored to its original appearance, and a visit to the restored home includes four rooms that reflect life during Taft’s boyhood.The second floor of the home features exhibits highlighting Taft’s life and career.The Taft Education Center, located adjacent to the birthplace, offers an orientation video, exhibits on later generations of the Taft family, and classrooms for visiting schools.The signature exhibit of the center is an animatronic figure of the President’s son Charlie Taft, who shares stories about various Taft family members.