Hess was appointed Secretary of DEP by Gov. Tom Ridge in 2001 and continued to serve under Gov. Mark Schweiker until 2003. He has served in a variety of positions in state government for over 30 years including in the Pennsylvania Senate and the former Department of Environmental Resources.
He is now Director of Policy and Communications with Crisci Associates, a Harrisburg-based government affairs firm.
During his tenure as Secretary and a senior manager at DEP, the agency won more national and international awards for innovation that any other state agency in the country. The awards involved innovations in communications and public involvement, restoring brownfield industrial sites, using the Internet and information technology in unique ways, and watershed and water resource protection.
He also helped guide the successful rescue of nine miners trapped in the Quecreek Mine in Somerset, Pennsylvania in 2002 and the environmental response to the crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.
He received the "River Hero" Award in 2002 from the national Rivers Network, the James McGirr Kelly Award for Excellence from the National Association of Water Companies-PA Chapter for his work on watershed and water resource issues and was recognized for his contributions to promoting education and environmental initiatives by the Pennsylvania Alliance for Environmental Education, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Pennsylvania Resources Council.
Taking a "hands-on" approach as Secretary, he visited every one of the 67 counties at least twice in the 21 months he was Secretary to spotlight watershed groups, farmers, businesses, local governments, teachers and students taking positive actions to protect and restore Pennsylvania's environment.
Before becoming Executive Deputy at DEP, he served as Executive Director of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for six years starting in January 1989.
Before coming to the Senate, he worked in a variety of positions at the Department of Environmental Resources over a 12-year period, including in the Secretary's Office of Policy, as Deputy Director for Regulatory Analysis and as Legislative Liaison for the agency.
He serves on the Board of several nonprofit groups including Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Pennsylvania Resources Council, Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, the Ralph W. Abele Conservation Scholarship Fund and the Quecreek Mine Rescue Foundation Advisory Committee.
Hess also publishes the weekly PA Environment Digest newsletter and shares information on environmental topics of concern to Pennsylvania through several blogs and a Twitter feed---- PA Environment Digest Twitter Feed
-- PA Environment Daily Blog
-- PA Environment Digest Video Blog
He can be contacted by sending email to: DHess@CrisciAssociates.com.