Two Minutes with Bill Ehm, Division Administrator, Environmental Services Division, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
What’s your current job?
I lead the Environmental Services Division of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
How long have you been Division Administrator? What’s your best experience thus far?
I have been in this position for six years. I have been a strong proponent of LEAN in our Department. It has been very rewarding to watch our staff and customers find better ways to accomplish our goals and make everyone’s work easier and more focused at the same time.
How has being a member of ECOS benefitted you?
Besides making some great friends, I have appreciated learning how other states do the same business as Iowa, but in varied ways. I have brought many ideas back home to be incorporated into our work at DNR.
What is the best management advice you’ve received?
“Care more about the people you have than for the ones you wish you had.”–Chuck Gipp, DNR Director
Tell us about your morning ritual.
Up at 5:00 and first things first…make the coffee. Then I read the paper. I don’t want to show up at work and find out something about my business that everyone else already knows.
What was your childhood dream job?
I grew up on a farm and always wanted be a farmer. I lived that “dream job” for 20 years and still have my fingers in the farm today.
What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?
It is actually a string of moments. That is, my favorite moments at DNR are those when I realize how great our staff members are. Their professionalism, dedication, enthusiasm, educational levels, and technical skills amaze me every day. There hasn’t been a day in this job when I wasn’t excited to get to work.
What leader do you most admire?
Pope John Paul II. His love filled the hearts of the world, his courage freed his homeland, and his belief in the truth called him to challenge our worldly culture.
What was your first real job?
Aside from farm chores, I was a sacker at a local grocery store. I learned to be attentive to customer needs, to provide them with necessary assistance so that they wanted to return to our store, and most importantly, to smile. It was a great learning experience.
What can you not live without?
I can probably live without a lot of things, but I do enjoy an afternoon/evening libation while my wife, and I share the events of the day.
If Hollywood made a movie of your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Any story about my life would have to be a comedy of errors. I pick Steve Martin. Besides, he has white hair. [Swanson]