Attorney Gary Rikard chosen to lead Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

JACKSON, Mississippi — Gov. Phil Bryant has named 44-year-old environmental lawyer Gary Rikard to replace the outgoing executive director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Rikard — an Olive Branch resident who is a partner in the Memphis, Tennessee, office of the Butler Snow LLP law firm — was previously an environmental engineer and a lawyer for Mississippi’s environmental agency. He left there to go into private practice in 1998.

“He has the legal and technical expertise to ensure that Mississippi’s environmental conservation and economic growth priorities are achieved in concert with one another,” Bryant said in a statement making the announcement Wednesday.

Rikard will replace Trudy Fisher, who has led the MDEQ since 2007. Fisher, appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour and retained by Bryant, said in May she was leaving the department to explore other career options.

The new director will serve subject to later confirmation by the state Senate. Rikard told The Associated Press by email he wasn’t sure exactly when he would start work, declining further comment until he takes the post.