Getting to Know You – New State Director prioritizes people

Story by Gina Baltrusch, Public Affairs Officer, North Central Montana District

Woman (left) and man (right) speaking with each other; tan-colored, lap-sided building with a wooden porch in the background; sunny day.
BLM Montana/Dakotas State Director
Sonya Germann (left) stops by the North
Central Montana District’s Zortman Fire
Station in Phillips County, Montana,
Sept. 26, to meet with NCMD Fire
Management Officer Josh Barta (right)
and the station team.  
Photo by Pat Gunderson

The BLM Montana/Dakotas has a new state director – Sonya Germann – and she’s lost no time getting up to speed on all things BLM-MT/DKs.

During the last week of September, Germann visited the North Central Montana District to meet managers and staff,

and to learn more about the public lands they manage to maximize opportunities for commercial, recreational, and conservation activities.

“I’m learning so much about the land-management challenges and opportunities that our people handle,” said Germann. “I think it’s important for leaders to go out whenever possible to meet and talk with team members at every level of the organization.”

A man (left) and woman (right) conversing (viewed from the back), facing toward a far-reaching landscape of hills, a valley prairie and distant mountain range.
From atop a ridge in the Little Rocky
Mountains looking toward the Bear Paw
Mountains, Malta Field Office Manager
Tom Darrington (left) shows BLM
Montana/Dakotas State Director Sonya
Germann (right) the general vicinity of
the Zortman-Landusky mining
reclamation area, Sept. 26 in Phillips
County, Montana.
Photo by Pat Gunderson

While her new duties at the state office are more than enough to keep her busy, Germann plans to make the time to visit all three of BLM-MT/DKs’ districts within the first several months of becoming the state director -- a challenging goal when leading an organization covering three states totaling about 8.3-million surface acres and 47.1-million sub-surface acres.

“As a leader, it’s critical to understand the boots-on-the-ground view of things,” she added. “You have to leave the office once in a while to truly appreciate the complexities of managing public lands for multiple-use purposes. Our overall mission success depends on our people, and I’m seeing first-hand that they’re are doing an amazing job!”

Germann was born and raised in Montana, and joins the BLM with more than 20 years of natural resources management and leadership experience, most recently as Montana’s State Forester. Learn more about her – https://www.blm.gov/press-release/sonya-germann-named-state-director-montanadakotas.