Ward recently served as the WVDEP’s Deputy Secretary of Operations and Director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation (DMR), where he oversaw all operational components of the WVDEP, as well as the agency’s mining regulatory program.
“Harold Ward has been a superstar in the WVDEP for a long time and the work he’s done during my administration, leading our Division of Mining and Reclamation, has been truly incredible,” Gov. Justice said. “I have all the confidence in the world that he will do a fantastic job as our new Secretary for the Department of Environmental Protection.”
“I am honored to be appointed to this position by Governor Justice,” Ward said. “The WVDEP has thrived under the leadership of Governor Justice and Secretary Caperton. I hope to maintain that momentum as we continue to serve the people of West Virginia and protect our state’s air, land, and water.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in biology from West Virginia University, Ward started his career in state government in 1989 as an Inspector-in-Training with what is now known as the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). After a brief, six-month tenure with the WVDNR, he transferred to the state Division of Energy as a Surface Mining Reclamation Inspector-in-Training.
After the Division of Energy was incorporated into the WVDEP in 1991, Ward continued his career in DMR and was assigned to the agency’s Logan office. There, he advanced from Inspector to Inspector Specialist to Inspector Supervisor, before serving as the Deputy Director of DMR in 2011. Ward was promoted to Director of DMR in 2013.
In 2017, Ward was asked to take on additional duties within the agency and oversaw the WVDEP’s Division of Land Restoration. That role was expanded in 2018 to include all WVDEP operations.
In December 2020, Gov. Justice announced that the previous WVDEP Cabinet Secretary, Austin Caperton, would be transitioning to a new role outside of state government.
“I’d like to once again thank Austin for his four years of incredible service to the people of West Virginia and for his many, many years of friendship,” Gov. Justice said. “He has been a shining light in my administration since day one and, while I’m sad to see him leave, I know he has some wonderful opportunities in front of him, and I wish him nothing but the best.”?