20 Under 40: New leaders, classic values

Jessica Hart
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Hometown: Ellisburg
Professional position: Environmental Analyst
Family: Husband, Jeremy; daughter, Julia, 12; son, Daniel, 8
Education: Bachelor’s degree, SUNY Oswego
Community involvement: North Country Arts Council; Sackets Harbor Central School PTO, serving five years as treasurer; employee assistance program committee member and annual winter clothing and food drive; graduate, Jefferson Leadership Institute
Last book read: “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell

Jessica Hart has relied on a series of mentors at the state Department of Environmental Conservation to learn as much as she can from them in her 13 years at the agency.

When taking on a task, Ms. Hart, 36, a DEC environmental analyst who works in the permitting process, listens to people who know more than her, she takes their advice and then plunges into it to get it done.

“Nothing ever happens unless you get started,” she said.

After earning a  bachelor’s degree in science from SUNY Oswego, Ms. Hart was not sure exactly what she wanted to do until she worked on the red wolf project for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in North Carolina.

“I loved it,” she said

An Ellisburg native, she missed living in the north country, so moved back home and got a seasonal job at a wildlife technician at the DEC, where her career has progressed from there.

“I have always been able to align myself with amazing mentors,” she said.

Facing severe job cuts because of the state’s fiscal crisis several years ago, she was instrumental in keeping the permitting office up and running until the office was able to hire again and then became the main trainer. Looking to the future, she wants to continue up the ladder at the DEC, with hopes of someday becoming the regional permit administrator.

-Craig Fox
[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

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