Chris Blankenship of Mobile, Alabama, has been appointed by Governor Robert Bentley as Deputy Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). He replaces Curtis Jones, who retired from the position earlier this month. Most recently, Blankenship served as Director of Marine Resources, a division within ADCNR, for the past six years.
Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. says he is pleased to welcome Blankenship to the Montgomery office. “Chris has an advantage coming in because he has worked in several capacities within the Department for more than 20 years. I know that he has great leadership skills, and his knowledge of our agency as well as state government will serve us well,” he said.
As Deputy Conservation Commissioner, Blankenship says he looks forward to serving the people of Alabama. “ADCNR is an expansive department with varied responsibilities. I think I will enjoy helping with issues concerning state parks, hunting, freshwater fishing and state lands, in addition to the saltwater and coastal issues,” he said.
“My goal is to assist the Governor, Commissioner and the four ADCNR divisions to make access to the outdoors and the natural resources of Alabama more enjoyable for the public. The economic impact of outdoor recreation in Alabama, coupled with the contribution to the quality of life in our great state is of extreme importance. I am honored that Governor Bentley and Commissioner Guy would give me this opportunity.”
Blankenship is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a degree in Criminal Justice. He served as a Marine Resources enforcement officer before being named Division Director in 2011. “It seems like it was just a few years ago that I was a 23-year-old Conservation Enforcement Officer starting my career. I had no idea then where that job would take me; I certainly never imagined it would take me to Montgomery as Deputy Commissioner!
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Marine Resources. The success we have had with artificial reef creation, building public access and restoration efforts since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been very rewarding. I worked with a great staff at Marine Resources and I feel we had the opportunity to make a difference in Coastal Alabama. As I begin my new position, I just want to say a deep, heartfelt thank-you for the friendships, professionalism and partnerships that I have had at the Marine Resources Division,” he said
Blankenship expects to continue in his current roles as program administrator of the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission, chairman of the Shellfish Aquaculture Review Board and chairman of the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Blankenship and his wife Allyson look forward to relocating to the Montgomery area.