LITTLE ROCK — Roger W. Mangham left Arkansas and its office of The Nature Conservancy after a decade of work for the same organization in Alabama in 2016, but he always thought someday he might return. That opportunity arose recently, allowing Mangham to head back to The Natural State. He will join the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as deputy director beginning Nov. 25.
Mangham, who turns 43 in December, most recently has served as state director of The Nature Conservancy in Alabama for the past three and a half years. From 2006 to 2016, he was Director of Conservation Programs for TNC Arkansas and, before that, worked six years for Texas TNC. He also was a wildlife research assistant at Stephen F. Austin State University where his work focused on turkey, waterfowl and habitat delivery.
“It’s a place that’s near and dear to my heart,” Mangham said of Arkansas from his Birmingham, Ala., office, where he was wrapping up his duties there. “One thing that is unique about the state is, it’s a very partnership-driven state, people work well together there. There is just something special when it comes to that. Arkansans prioritize the state’s natural resources and understand the economic benefits. People come together - around the woods, rivers and lakes.”
“People in Arkansas really connect to the land and want to do more for conservation. That’s why I could see myself wanting to come back.”
“We are excited to welcome Roger aboard,” AGFC Director Pat Fitts said. “In addition to his long career with The Nature Conservancy in three states, he has covered international assignments in Mexico and Africa, where he conducted prescribed burning workshops. He has experience managing a diverse staff to meet program goals. His skill sets and experiences will complement and enhance our team here at AGFC.”
Mangham will join the AGFC leadership team under Fitts that includes Deputy Directors Chris Colclasure and Chris Racey. He will oversee the Business Administration branch of the agency, which includes the agency’s Fiscal, Human Resources, Information Technology, Geographic Information Systems and Operations divisions.
“Roger has experience with budgeting, revenue forecasting and generation, writing and managing large grants, as well as managing habitat,” Fitts said. “He also brings valuable experience in strategic planning and government relations.”
Mangham said he brings a versatility that should serve the AGFC well. “I’ve been very, very lucky in my career to wear many hats,” he said. “At heart, I’m a wildlife biologist but I’m just as comfortable working in the woods as working in the state house. It’s been a cornerstone of my career and I’m blessed in that respect.”
He describes himself as “the average biologist, I’ve been involved a lot in prescribed fire, land restoration, those kinds of things.” He notes a strong background in wildlife management and doing the work behind the scenes to maintain the resources. “I enjoy getting habitat work done so people can get out and have a great experience in the outdoors.”
He also said, “While I was in Arkansas, I really fell in love with the place. It’s still where I come and hunt every chance I can. For me, honestly, I’m always wanting to go where I can do the most good for conservation at the local, state, federal or NGO level.”
“I think the leadership at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is positioned to do some really good things, and there is a significant need. We’re seeing a decline in people who hunt and fish. It’s a problem and it really concerns me. That’s one thing I want to try and fix.”
Mangham obtained a degree in Forest Wildlife Management from Stephen F. Austin State University, College of Forestry, in 2000 and completed a master’s in Wildlife Biology from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2008.
Though Mangham’s official start date is Nov. 25, he plans to attend the November AGFC Commission meeting and town hall in Stuttgart on Wednesday, Nov. 20.