The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today that Ken Soring, a 34-year veteran of the department, will become the next director of the Enforcement Division.
“Ken Soring has a deep and lifelong commitment to Minnesota resources and more than three decades of experience in the Division of Enforcement,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “He has great standing amongst field officers and our stakeholders, which will be very helpful as the Enforcement Division embarks on its strategic planning and workforce initiatives in the coming years.”
As division director, Soring will oversee a $38 million annual budget and a staff of 250 employees, more than 200 of whom are licensed conservation officers. The division is responsible for enforcing the state’s laws related to game and fish; public lands, waters and natural resources; units of outdoor recreation system and outdoor recreation-related public safety.
Soring began his DNR career as a wildlife laborer before becoming a conservation officer in 1984. He has worked his way up through the ranks within the Enforcement Division, serving eight years as a conservation officer, 12 years as a district supervisor, and the past nine years as the Northeast Region Enforcement manager in Grand Rapids, Minn. Soring also served as acting enforcement director for six months in 2008-2009.
Because conservation officers are often called the “face of the department,” Soring said his main focus will be to continue improving the Enforcement Division’s relationships and service delivery to the public, user groups and other DNR divisions.
“I really see three immediate priorities for the division,” said Soring. “As a division we need to provide excellent service to Minnesota citizens; work to increase compliance rates with natural resources laws through education and enforcement; and strive to continuously improve the ways we conduct our work.”
In addition to his work in conservation law enforcement, Soring served two years as a part-time deputy for Itasca County Sheriff’s Department and nine years as a natural resources law enforcement instructor at Itasca and Hibbing community colleges. During his career, Soring has been honored with two meritorious service awards and a Governor’s Award for Excellence.
Soring will assume the position of Minnesota’s chief conservation officer on June 19. He replaces Col. Jim Konrad, who retired effective June 4 following 30 years of state service.