Executive Director R. Matthew Hough retiring; Deputy Executive Director Bryan Burhans to take helm.
After more than three years as executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and nearly 35 years with the agency, R. Matthew Hough today announced he will retire March 24.
Following his announcement, and the commissioners expressing their appreciation to Hough on a job well done, Commissioner Robert W. Schlemmer made a motion to appoint Game Commission Deputy Executive Director Bryan Burhans as Hough’s permanent replacement, beginning March 25.
The motion was approved unanimously.
Hough in making his announcement recalled proclaiming to a sixth-grade classmate he’d pursue a career in wildlife conservation, and said working for the Game Commission has been a dream come true.
“I’ve been blessed,” he said.
Commissioners thanked Hough for guiding the Game Commission through challenging times, and for the stability that resulted.
“You stepped up into the position, you filled the position perfectly, we could not have asked for a better executive director,” President Commissioner Brian Hoover said.
“You’ve said that you feel blessed,” Commissioner Charlie Fox told Hough. “I think we all feel blessed having you.”
Burhans said the Pennsylvania Game Commission remains a leader in wildlife conservation nationwide, and he’s honored for the opportunity to serve the agency, its employees, the Board of Commissioners and – importantly – wildlife, hunters and trappers.
“Director Hough’s leadership has set the agency on a steady course that only can lead to success,” Burhans said.
Burhans came to the Game Commission in 2014 as the agency’s deputy director of administration. He was commissioned as deputy wildlife conservation officer in 2015, and in addition to his responsibilities in the executive office, presently serves in the field in Lebanon County.
Burhans served as president and CEO of The American Chestnut Foundation headquartered in Asheville, N.C. He also served on the executive staff at the National Wild Turkey Federation for more than 12 years, worked as a wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and as a biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
Hough began his career with the Game Commission in 1981, as a Wildlife Conservation Officer trainee in the 18th Class of the Ross Leffler School of Conservation. Upon graduation in 1982, he was assigned to serve as a Wildlife Conservation Officer in southwestern Westmoreland County. In 1986, Hough received a lateral transfer to his home area of northern Washington County.
In 1992, Hough was promoted to the Game Commission’s Southwest Region Office where he served for periods as Federal Aid Supervisor, Information and Education Supervisor, and Law Enforcement Supervisor prior to becoming Regional Director in 2003. In 2010, he became Deputy Executive Director of Field Operations at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters
Courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission