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Leadership changes at Department of Transportation and Environmental Quality

News | June 12, 2024 | By:

Chris Dorrington

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has announced the appointments of Chris Dorrington as director of the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and of Sonja Nowakowski as director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). “Chris Dorrington is a changemaker,” Gov. Gianforte said. “Bringing his previous experience at the agency and exceptional ability to lead, I have total confidence in him as he takes the reins at MDT. I appreciate his willingness to serve in this new capacity after his successful tenure at DEQ.”

Dorrington currently serves as the director of DEQ and as chair of the governor’s Housing Task Force. “I am grateful to Governor Gianforte for this new opportunity,” Dorrington said. “While I have enjoyed my time at DEQ, right now I can make the biggest difference at MDT, where I first started my career. I look forward to continuing to serve Montana in this new role.”

Prior to his service as DEQ director, Dorrington led DEQ’s Air, Energy, and Mining Division for four-and-a-half years. Prior to that, from 2006 to 2016, he led the MDT Planning Division. Dorrington holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Gonzaga University, and a master’s degree in transportation policy, operations and logistics from George Mason University.

Gov. Gianforte has named Sonja Nowakowski as the new director of DEQ. A leader in the energy and environmental policy space for 20 years, Nowakowski currently serves as DEQ’s division administrator of Air, Energy, and Mining since 2021. “Sonja is the right person to lead DEQ,” Gov. Gianforte said. “With her vast experience at the agency and with the legislature, she will be ready for the job on day one. I’m grateful to Sonja for stepping up to serve as the head of this important agency.”

Sonja Nowakowski

Nowakowski added, “I am honored to step into this role to serve Montanans. My life experience is reinforced by the laws that govern natural resources, protect Montana’s environment, and our way of life. I look forward to working with our staff to deliver the high-quality customer service Montanans expect.”

Prior to DEQ, she spent 15 years with the Legislative Services Division, including five years as a research director where she focused on natural resources and energy policy, writing legislation and advising legislators.

A native Montanan, Nowakowski grew up in north central Montana. She holds a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Montana. Learn more about MDT here.

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