EL DORADO – Emon Mahony, who has served as a commissioner since 2009 on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and as chair of the board during the past year, was recognized for his years of service when the commission met in El Dorado Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. His term will expire June 30.
Mahony was named to the commission by Governor Mike Beebe in 2009 and has been a trustee for the Arkansas Nature Conservancy si nce 2007. Governor David Pryor previously appointed him to the Arkansas Soil and Water Commission in 1978, where he served for seven years, including one as chairman. Mahony was one of the advocates who helped establish the 1/8-Cent Conservation Sales Tax for the AGFC and still works to create conservation easements to protect local ecosystems.
Since 1996, Mahony has been president of an oil and gas business in Union County. He spent the 20 years before that with the Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp., serving most of that time as the company’s president. He also worked for U.S. Senator John McClellan and as a private attorney.
A reception was held in El Dorado on Tuesday to honor Mahony and on Wednesday, commission members met in committees and toured the South Arkansas Education Center site at the South Arkansas Regional Airport/Goodwin Field.
On Thursday, the regular monthly meeting was held to discuss a number of issues including Chronic Wasting Disease among deer and elk and to recognize outgoing and incoming members and directors.
Fred Brown, of Corning, was appointed to the commission by Beebe in 2010, has served on the commission for the past six years and was announced as the next chairman.
Brown is the first Clay County resident ever appointed to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He is the first northeast Arkansas member of the commission since 1991. Raised in Corning, Brown is a graduate of Arkansas State University and has farmed in Clay County for 40 years. He served six years with the Arkansas National Guard in the 875th Engineering Battalion. A member of the Clay County Soil and Water Board, Brown also worked with a conservation group to prevent digging that would have disturbed fishing and hunting around the Little Black River.
Steve Cook, of Malvern was named as the vice-chair and was appointed to the commission in 2011 by Beebe. He was born and raised in Hot Spring County and grew up learning to hunt and fish along the Ouachita River. He has been involved with Ducks Unlimited for more than 30 years, serving previously as the Arkansas state chairman. Currently, he is a regional vice-president for the national organization. Cook is a member of the Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and other conservation causes. In addition, Cook has served on the executive committee of the Arkansas State Police Foundation and as a longtime commander of the Hot Spring County Sheriff’s Office’s Reserve Deputies.
Mike Knoedl, director of the AGFC since 2012 who has worked for the commission for 30 years, also announced his retirement at the Thursday meeting. Jeff Crow was named as the new director. Knoedl, who began his career with the AGFC in 1985, served as the agency’s deputy director since 2011. Knoedl was selected with the support of all seven voting commissioners. Knoedl began his AGFC career in 1985, as a Perry County wildlife officer. In 2008, he became chief of the Enforcement Division, a position he held until 2011.
Jeff Crow was named as the new director. Crow, AGFC chief of staff, will assume the role of director July 1. Crow will be the agency’s 17th director in its 101-year history. Crow worked as an AGFC wildlife officer from 1986 to 1996 before accepting a position with Arkansas State Police, where he worked until his retirement from law enforcement in 2011. He returned to the AGFC in 2012, as colonel of the Enforcement Division, was promoted to deputy director in 2013 and AGFC chief of staff in 2014. He also served 25 years in the Marine Corps, both active and reserve. He is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He holds a bachelor of science degree in organizational management from John Brown University and a master’s in public administration from Arkansas State University.