Service Award: Jim Leach, 30 Years

(From left) Mike Rooker, OCC chairman; Jim Leach, OCC/WQ financial director; and Mike Thralls, OCC executive director.

Jim Leach, OCC Water Quality financial director, was recognized at the September meeting of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission for 30 years of service to OCC and the state of Oklahoma.

Jim is the most experienced Water Quality division employee, starting with OCC in 1980. Prior to joining OCC he worked for the state Agriculture Department for three and a half years. He left OCC for a couple of years in 1983, then returned in 1985.

Jim has watched the Water Quality division grow from a staff of two to a staff of 34 today. He began his career with  OCC as a water quality specialist, but has filled roles from data manager to project coordinator to division assistant director to his current position of financial director. In this role, in cooperation with the OCC Financial Management/Human Resources division and with the Office of the Secretary of Environment, Jim and the Oklahoma Nonpoint Source Water Quality Program have been recognized as being among the best in the nation for the rate at which they effectively utilize available funds and also for the very detailed processes used to document match for federal programs.  

“Jim is a forester by training and by passion, but he’s a pretty good bean counter as well,” said Shanon Phillips, OCC/WQ director. “Jim’s knowledge and experience of the history and lessons learned by the division – and the Commission – make him a highly valued member of the OCC team.”