Jewell holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington. Jewell is married and has two grown children.
Most notably Jewell worked as an engineer with Mobil Oil and prior to that she spent two decades in the banking industry. Her most recent job in banking was overseeing Washington Mutual’s commercial-banking group, according to The Seattle Times. She had previously served as president of WestOne Bank from 1992 to 1995, and as an executive at Rainier Bank/Security Pacific from 1981 to 1992.
Recently Jewell served as the chief executive of Sumner, Washington-based Recreational Equipment Inc. or REI, a popular retailer of outdoor gear. The company said its sales doubled during her tenure, from $1 billion annually to nearly $2 billion, expanded its network of stores by 71. REI regularly makes Fortune Magazine’s list of the Best Companies to Work For.
In a written statement following her nomination, REI said its CEO’s “broad business background, community leadership, and her depth of knowledge of the range of issues managed by the Department of the Interior will be of significant value to the department and great service to the nation.
Jewell is described as an outdoors enthusiast and strong advocate of protecting the nation’s resources who is an expert on energy and climate change. She was CEO of REI at a time when it donated millions of dollars to protect trails and public parks. REI stores get a fifth of their power from renewable energy sources.
“She knows the link between conservation and good jobs,” Obama said in announcing Jewell’s nomination. “She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet.”
If Obama’s nominees get confirmed by the Senate, Jewell will work with Gina McCarthy as head of the EPA and Ernest Moniz as the Energy Secretary. This trio will execute Obama’s energy agenda and spearhead the President’s climate change efforts.
The actions of these three people will determine the outcome of key climate and energy issues in the US. They include decisions about the exporting of US fossil fuels and the highly contentious natural gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.