An environmental official who most recently oversaw sustainability for the Suffolk County Water Authority has been appointed to head the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Long Island regional office, according to the state agency.
Carrie Meek Gallagher will take over as Region 1 director Sept. 21.
"I'm really thrilled to be offered the opportunity," Gallagher, 41, said in an interview Tuesday. "Everything I've done in my academic and professional career to date has really led to a position like this."
She will assume the office previously held by Peter Scully, who served as regional director for almost a dozen years before being named Suffolk County's sewer czar in May.
"I think she's a great choice," Scully said. "She'll do a great job. She already has a working knowledge of how DEC works and is well-known among government officials and the environmental community."
Region 1 of the DEC covers Nassau and Suffolk counties. As regional director, Gallagher will oversee more than 150 employees at the agency, which is tasked with protecting and monitoring the environment.
Gallagher's appointment was announced Monday by acting DEC Commissioner Marc Gerstman.
"Her wealth of environmental knowledge and experience in Suffolk and Nassau counties will be a tremendous asset to the agency, the state and the local communities," Gerstman said in a statement.
Gallagher said she will leave her current position as chief sustainability officer at the water authority, where she has worked since 2011, on Sept. 11. As regional director, she will earn $143,000 a year -- the same as her predecessor.
She said she planned to spend the next three months meeting with staff, policymakers and stakeholders, while focusing on Long Island environmental issues ranging from water quality to wastewater management to illegal dumping.
Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), who chairs the Assembly's Environmental Conservation Committee, called Gallagher's appointment "brilliant."
"She's well-experienced, and she knows county government and local government very well," he said. "If somebody had parachuted in from outside of our region, they would have gone through a long learning curve. Gallagher won't need to do that."
In addition to her position at the water authority, Gallagher has been commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Environment and Energy, Suffolk's deputy director of planning and director of Nassau County's Economic Development Resource Center, among other roles.
Gallagher, a Stony Brook resident, earned a bachelor's degree from Amherst College, a master of science degree from the University of Maryland at College Park, and a master of business administration degree from Hofstra University.