Scrapbook Photo 05/27/24 - 128 New Stories - REAL Environmental & Conservation Leadership In PA:
DEP Names Katie Hetherington Cunfer Temporary Executive Director Of CAC

The Department of Environmental Protection announced Tuesday Katie Hetherington Cunfer will serve as temporary Executive Director of the agency’s Citizens Advisory Council.  She is presently Director of DEP’s Office of External Affairs.

Cunfer replaces long-time DEP employee Michelle Tate who has served as Executive Director of CAC since January 2014.

Tate has worked in DEP for more than 18 years and most recently served as DEP’s Regulatory Coordinator since 2003 and was responsible for moving regulations through the development and adoption process internally with the Environmental Quality Board and the external review process involving the General Assembly and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

Previously she served in positions with the Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management and the former Office of Pollution Prevention and Compliance Assistance.

In 1997 Tate was part of a group of DEP employees who were recognized with a Secretary’s Award for Excellence for their efforts in the Strategic Environmental Management Team.

Tate has a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s Degree from Gannon University in Erie.  She is also a certified ISO 14001 Environmental Standards Auditor.

Cunfer was named to her current position in DEP in April of 2014, but previously served as an Executive Assistant for DEP’s Office of Administration.

She attended the Pennsylvania State University where she received dual degrees in Agribusiness Management and Agricultural and Extension Education.

She has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Ag Marketing Service, the Foreign Ag Service, and the Farm Service Agency and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in the ACRE program. Prior to joining DEP, Katie was the Government Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association.

Katie and her husband, along with his family, operate a 250 acre beef feedlot and grain family farm in Carbon County.

DEP’s Citizens Advisory Council was established by law in 1971 as an independent advisory panel providing advice to DEP and the General Assembly.  It consists of 18 members appointed by the Governor, the Senate and the House.


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