SAFETY

DWR names Shirley, a second generation DWR employee, as new director

Aug 19, 2021, 4:26 PM | Updated: 4:46 pm
Justin "J" Shirley has been named as the new director for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. ...
Justin "J" Shirley has been named as the new director for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

SALT LAKE CITY — Justin “J” Shirley has been named the new director for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

The announcement was made Thursday by Brian Steed, director for the  Utah Department of Natural Resources. Shirley’s role as director will begin Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.

Utah roots

Shirley is a resident of Stockton. He grew up in Elk Ridge and enjoys being outdoors hunting, fishing and hiking with his wife and kids.

“I am a second-generation DWR employee and care deeply about the continued success of the wildlife resources in Utah,” Shirley said. “With over 18 years as an employee with the DWR, I feel that my experience gained through numerous positions within the law enforcement section have uniquely prepared me for the position of director.

As stated in the DWR mission, ‘Wildlife is valuable to everyone.’ I believe in that and have spent my career promoting and instilling a respect for wildlife and wild places with all those I interact with. I look forward to continuing that mission.”

Strong education background

He graduated from the Police Corps in 2002. Later that year, he began working as a conservation officer for the DWR.  He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in wildlife and range resources from Brigham Young University.

“J brings a wealth of knowledge and personal experience to this position, and I feel confident in his ability to oversee the management of Utah’s fish and wildlife,” Steed said. 

Shirley replaces Rory Reynolds at the helm of the DWR. Reynolds served as interim director since Jan. 1, 2021, when then-director Mike Fowlks retired.

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DWR names Shirley, a second generation DWR employee, as new director