DEP’s McDonnell to leave; Ramez Ziadeh named acting secretary

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HARRISBURG—Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell will leave his position on July 2 after 25 years of service with the commonwealth. The governor also announced his intention to name Ramez Ziadeh to serve as Acting Secretary.

“Patrick’s dedication to protecting our commonwealth’s environment has been a decades long commitment at DEP, and I am grateful for his service,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “Through his leadership, we are taking significant action to address climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect our waterways, and ensure that contaminated lands are cleaned up and repurposed so that our communities can enjoy these spaces once again.”

McDonnell’s career with DEP spans several decades, beginning in 1998. Prior to becoming secretary in 2016, Patrick served as the department’s director of policy. He also ran the State Energy Office, coordinating renewable energy and energy efficiency issues.  McDonnell previously served as DEP’s Deputy Secretary for Administration, overseeing the agency’s budget, human resource and information technology programs. In addition, he spent over three years as executive policy manager for former Public Utility Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer, focusing on electric, natural gas and water issues. Patrick has served several roles with the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), including president, vice president, treasurer and vice chair of the Innovation and Productivity Committee.

“I’m so honored to have served Governor Wolf and lead a tremendous and dedicated staff at DEP, all of whom work hard every day — whether in the office, out in the community and even in our waters — to protect Pennsylvania’s abundant natural resources. From our litter cleanups to improving our permitting processes to taking unprecedented steps to address climate change, I’m proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish,” McDonnell said. “Thank you, Governor Wolf, and thank you to all my colleagues at DEP for prioritizing protecting our environment.” 

Ramez Ziadeh, P.E., served as the Executive Deputy Secretary of Programs at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection since June 2017 and previously served as Director of the Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands. Ziadeh is a licensed professional engineer in the states of Pennsylvania and California.  He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993. Ziadeh started his career in DEP in 1994. He has over 28 years of extensive experience in environmental permitting, compliance, policy and regulatory rule making.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with Secretary McDonnell, and I am committed to upholding the high standards he set for the office and for the department,” Ziadeh said. “I look forward to working with Governor Wolf to ensure that Pennsylvanians have clear air, clean water, and healthy communities.”