September 9, 2019
Hugh McDiarmid, Jr., Communications Manager, recently joined EGLE Director Liesl Clark and EGLE staff at a brown bag lunch to talk about his role. He joins us for a Fast Five edition of MI Environment.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in East Lansing and attended East Lansing High School and watched Magic Johnson play against our school. I even served Magic a sandwich when I worked at Big Boy! I went on to Albion College. I spent my summers on Torch Lake where I learned to love the outdoors and our incredible freshwater resources. I live in Farmington with my wife, Karen. We have two adult children, a grandchild, and a disreputable dog.
How did you get into journalism and environmental protection?
My father was a journalist, and I sort of fell into journalism. My first job was at the Roscommon Herald News. The DNR (then DEQ also) had an office there. They invited me to accompany them in the field as they did their jobs. That was an eye-opening experience. I then worked for Advance Newspapers in Grand Rapids, then moved to the Detroit Free Press, where I was the environmental reporter. James Clift, EGLE deputy director, was then with the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC). He was one of my best sources. Later I joined MEC where I worked for eight years; did a stint at the International Joint Commission office in Windsor, Ontario; and most recently worked with the Environment Program at The Kresge Foundation.
I hear you have a story about one of your early interactions with the then-DNR?
When I worked in Grand Rapids, I filed a complaint about construction work underway at a wetland near where I walked my dog. Even though the complaint went nowhere, years later my complaint was cited in a lawsuit by homeowners who were experiencing flooding in their basements in that area. That opened my eyes to the long-term impact of protecting, or failing to protect, our natural resources.
What will be your role as the Communications Manager at EGLE?
I will help coordinate the agency’s communications by aligning communications -- internal and external -- with an overarching vision based on the values of protecting people, health and our natural resources.
What will be your focus?
Protect people, protect health, and protect the environment.