Associate Deputy State Director
California State Office
Karla Norris was born in Wichita, Kansas so you'd think she would be a University of Kansas Jayhawk fan. But Karla will tell you up front she is a huge University of Oklahoma "Sooners" fan. She is just as likely to say her two favorite football teams are Oklahoma and whoever plays Texas. Rivalry in the Big 12 conference is fierce and Karla displays her affiliation throughout her office with Sooner memorabilia.
You see, she spent much of her formative years in Shawnee and Norman, Oklahoma and considers herself an OKIE!
It's even more confusing when you discover she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1980 with a degree in business administration, after attending the University of Oklahoma in 1978-79.
Karla began her government career on active duty with the the U.S. Army and four more years as a reservist. The most interesting thing about her active duty tour was the eight months spent at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California learning to speak German.
She worked briefly for the Bureau of Reclamation in 1985; for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a realty specialist and appraiser from 1991-1994; and for the National Park Service at Lake Mead National Recreation Area from 1994-2003 as a concessions management specialist and public affairs officer. She came to BLM in 2003 working in Yuma, Arizona until 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada, from 2005-2007; and Moore, Oklahoma, from 2007-2009.
When not involved in managing the public land, she may be underneath the water or on a horse.
An accomplished scuba diver, Karla dove off a large "wall" of reef coral near Cozemel, Mexico, that went down 600 feet. Of course, she says, she was only 100 feet deep, but she could see the endless coral and was awe struck. She also dove in a cenote -- a limestone cave formed in prehistoric times in the interior of Mexico.