The DNR's secretary's director's serve as the department's eyes, ears and voice throughout the state, ensuring prompt attention to local issues and improved responsiveness to opportunities.
The five secretary's directors act with the full authority of DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole to build relationships, resolve challenges for DNR customers and integrate citizen feedback to improve service. The secretary's directors have offices in northern, northeastern, west central, south central and southeastern Wisconsin.
In addition to directing staff, managing activities and making decisions on key issues within a geographic area, the secretary's director's work with local legislators, municipal executives and business leaders to advance the department's mission and vision. Through collaboration with appropriate program administrators, they also take the lead on establishing single points of contact on projects with challenges that span multiple division programs.
Jean Romback-Bartels Contact Email
Work Station: Green Bay Service Center
Counties served: Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.
Jean Romback-Bartels was appointed northeast director on Oct. 16, 2011. She started her career with DNR in 1993 as a limited-term employee wildlife technician at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area and full-time park ranger later that year at Blue Mound State Park. She was promoted through a number of jobs including manager at Potawatomi State Park (1997), land and forestry basin Leader in Shawano (2001) and regional land leader in northeast Wisconsin (2002.)
Jean holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in wildlife and biology, and a minor in natural resources management (1989.) In her spare time she enjoys life with her husband Dave and her array of animals, including chows, cats and laying hens. Jean is an avid angler and deer hunter and enjoys canning fruits and vegetables.
Mark Aquino Contact Email
Work Station: Fitchburg Service Center
Counties served: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Grant, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and Sauk.
Mark Aquino, a manager at DNR since 2001, was named south central region director in October 2011. Aquino started his career with the state in 1988 as a management analyst at the Legislative Audit Bureau. In 1997, he was promoted to chief of the Department of Transportation’s strategic issues section and he came to DNR in 2001 as land services team leader. He was promoted to south central region land leader in 2005 and deputy land division administrator in 2009. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science and economics from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Mike Thompson Contact Email
Phone: (414) 303-3408
Work Station: Milwaukee Service Center
Counties served: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha.
Mike Thompson was appointed southeast director on Jan. 3, 2022. He brings 29 years of experience in the environmental and natural resource fields make him well suited for this role. Mike most recently served as the department's waterways program director for statewide dams and floodplain safety, Great Lakes coastal erosion, piers, dredging and other public trust, wetlands and shoreland zoning matters.
While at the DNR, Mike has worked as a remediation and redevelopment program contaminated soil and groundwater hydrogeologist, spill emergency response coordinator and an environmental analysis field supervisor. He also has experience in complex transportation, utility and environmental impact statement projects in southeast, south-central and northeast Wisconsin.
Mike has a degree in geology and geophysics from UW-Madison and is a Wisconsin Army National Guard commissioned officer veteran.
Dan Baumann Contact Email
Work Station: Eau Claire Service Center
Counties served: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, St. Croix, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.
Dan Baumann started his DNR career in 1992 with the dam safety and floodplain programs. Dan was reassigned in 1996 as a water management engineer out of La Crosse and in 2000, he was selected to be the basin leader for the Bad Axe-La Crosse Basin. Dan was promoted to the regional water leader position in November 2003 and began working out of Eau Claire. Since 2012, he has been secretary’s director for the 19 counties of west central Wisconsin.
Dan earned a degree in civil and environmental engineering from UW Madison and holds his professional engineer certification. Dan retired from active duty and National Guard service in 2002, specializing in reconnaissance and combat engineering. Dan is a native of Muscoda, where he grew up working on a dairy farm and spent lots of time on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. In his spare time, Dan enjoys hunting, fishing and trapping as well as spending time doing anything outdoors. Dan, his wife and three daughters live in Eau Claire.
James Yach Contact Email
Work Station: Rhinelander Service Center
Counties served: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Washburn, Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas.
James Yach comes to the DNR from the Department of Workforce Development where he was a district director before being named the DNR's northern region Secretary's Director in July of 2017. Prior to joining the State of Wisconsin, James retired from the United States Navy after serving on active duty for over 20 years as a Naval Aviator at multiple duty stations across the country and abroad.
A Wisconsin native, James was born and raised in Stevens Point and has a degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and currently resides in Rhinelander. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, enjoying many outdoor activities and spending time at his lakefront property in Presque Isle, though his great passion is musky fishing.