Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam



Date: June 8, 2018

Office of the Governor

Contact: Ofirah Yheskel


Secretariat of the Commonwealth

Contact: Caroline Corl


Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments 

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Secretariat of Natural Resources 

Joshua Saks, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources

Joshua Saks has been appointed Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources. Prior to his appointment, he served as Legislative Director at the National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center in Washington, DC where he managed a portfolio that included climate change and carbon reduction, climate resiliency, public lands and the Endangered Species Act. He has also held legislative and research positions at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Buchanan Ingersoll Professional Corporation and the Clean Air Council. Joshua obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Ithaca College and a Master of Arts degree in Classics from St. John’s College. He also completed coursework in economics at the USDA Graduate School.

Ellen Bolen, Deputy Director, Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Ellen Bolen has been appointed Deputy Director of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Prior to her appointment, Ellen served as a Senior Advisor to the Administrator and the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she worked on fishery and coastal policies. She has also held roles as Director of the Fishery Conservation Program and Associate Director of Government Relations at the Ocean Conservancy, and as a field biologist at the Mote Marine Laboratory studying manatee population dynamics. Ellen graduated from the Master of Environmental Management program at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma.

Christopher Bast, Deputy Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Christopher Bast has been appointed Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Most recently, Chris served as a Climate and Transportation Policy Advisor in the City of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment, where he led electric mobility and transportation decarbonization efforts. Prior to that, Chris managed public policy and stakeholder engagement at a regional clean energy economy advocacy organization in the Northwest. He previously served as Deputy Director of Constituent Services and as a climate and energy policy advisor to former Governor Tim Kaine. He has held positions in Virginia state government, including an appointment as Policy Advisor at the State Board of Elections and as a program manager at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. A Virginia native, Chris graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and received a Master of Public Administration from Seattle University.

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