Erika Jensen to be appointed as interim executive director of the Great Lakes Commission

Aug 28, 2020 | News and Announcements

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission announced today that it will be appointing Erika Jensen to serve as its interim executive director. Erika first joined the Commission in 2006 and currently oversees the agency’s aquatic invasive species prevention and control program. She will be the first female executive director of the Commission since it was established in 1955.

Darren Nichols announced that he will be stepping down from his current role as executive director on September 8. He will provide transition guidance to executive leadership as needed through January 2021 and will work to ensure a seamless transition for the Commission. He plans extensive travel and distance learning with his wife and three teenage sons through the next school year.

“I am so pleased to announce that Erika Jensen has been named to serve as interim executive director,” said Chair Sharon M. Jackson, Deputy General Counsel for Governor Eric J. Holcomb of Indiana. “Erika is highly regarded throughout the Great Lakes community and has spent more than 14 years with the GLC, spearheading many regional initiatives and serving in several leadership roles during this time. Erika has the ideal combination of experience with Great Lakes issues and stakeholders and fresh new ideas for the agency.”

 “The Commission sincerely appreciates Darren’s significant contributions to the Commission and the Great Lakes basin,” said GLC Vice Chair Todd L. Ambs, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “We wish him and his family the very best.”

Erika joined the Commission as a Sea Grant Fellow and has a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. She currently serves as coordinator for the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species and the Invasive Mussel Collaborative and works with a variety of regional partners on projects focused on invasive species and other topics.  

The Great Lakes Commission, led by chair Sharon M. Jackson, Deputy General Counsel for Governor Eric J. Holcomb of Indiana, is an interstate compact agency established under the Great Lakes Basin Compact of 1955. The Commission is authorized by state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin and its residents. The Commission consists of governors’ appointees, state legislators, industry and nonprofit leaders and agency officials from eight states and two provinces. Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.” The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests. The Commission office is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Learn more at


For media inquiries, please contact Beth Wanamaker, [email protected].

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