As Commissioner of DEC since March 2011, Joseph Martens leads the agency as it implements its core statutory mission to protect public health and the environment. In doing so, Commissioner Martens led the agency's response in the aftermath of the 2011 summer storms. This work continues through DEC's partnerships with state, local and federal governments to expedite recovery efforts and help communities restore and rehabilitate the state's waterways. In addition, Commissioner Martens oversees implementation of the NY Works Program to repair, rebuild and enhance DEC's flood control projects and dams and to support important coastal erosion projects. Also, Commissioner Martens has made progress in streamlining agency processes to further Governor Cuomo's efforts to grow jobs and support sustainable economic growth. Commissioner Martens serves as co-chair of the governor's Energy Highway Task Force.
From 1998 through 2010, Commissioner Martens served as president of the Open Space Institute, directing and overseeing land acquisition, sustainable development, historic preservation and farmland protection. Mr. Martens served Governor Mario Cuomo as Deputy Secretary for Energy and the Environment from 1992-94 and as Assistant Secretary from 1990-92. He was Chair of the Board of the Olympic Regional Development Authority and is currently an ex-officio member of the Authority. Commissioner Martens studied resource economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received an M.S. in Resource Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University