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JEFFERSON CITY, MO, AUG. 31, 2021 - Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Dru Buntin has named Mike Sutherland as a deputy department director and David Kelly as director of its Division of State Parks.

Sutherland brings a wide variety of knowledge to his new position. Most recently, he served as director of Missouri State Parks since January 2020. Previously, he served as deputy director of state parks since joining the department in June 2017. Sutherland also has experience at several levels of the public sector, having served as a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and as Warren County Assessor. Before joining the department, he served as policy director for the Missouri Budget Project and executive director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission. In his new role, Sutherland will oversee DNR’s Division of State Parks, the Missouri Geological Survey and the Division of Energy.

Kelly brings more than 30 years of Missouri State Park experience to his new role. He previously served as a deputy division director for the past four years. Prior to that, he served in leadership roles for several Missouri State Parks programs and sections, including operations and visitor services, market development and marketing and special events. David began his career with Missouri State Parks as a special events coordinator.

“Mike and David are both is longtime supporters of Missouri’s state park system and outdoor recreation,” said DNR Director Dru Buntin. “Both have been instrumental in building our team as well as relationships across communities that have helped us provide one of the best state park systems in the country.”

“I appreciate this opportunity and the faith Dru has in me to keep the agency moving forward,” said Sutherland. “It takes all of us working together to provide excellent service to the citizens of Missouri. By working together with a positive outlook, no challenge will be too great."

"I’m excited to lead our team," said Kelly. "We believe in and support the mission. There are a lot of exciting projects currently underway and on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to getting us across the finish line.”

Missouri’s 92 state parks and historic sites are administered by the department’s Division of State Parks. The mission of the state park system is to preserve and interpret the state’s most outstanding natural landscapes and cultural landmarks, and to provide outstanding recreational opportunities compatible with those resources.

A native of Warrenton who now lives in Jefferson City, Sutherland earned a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Central Missouri.  Kelly lives in Hartsburg and has a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism from the University of Missouri.

Sutherland and Kelly assume their new roles Sept. 1.

Learn more about Missouri’s State Parks and Historic Sites at

Editor’s note: Mike Sutherland and David Kelly photo links.
•    Mike Sutherland
•    David Kelly

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