Two Top Officials Appointed at the Department for Natural Resources

James R. Wright has been appointed Director of the Division of Forestry and James M. Vicini has been appointed Director of the Division of Mine Safety. Both appointments are effective April 16.

“I am delighted to announce both of these appointments,” Commissioner Luttrell said. “These new directors bring a wealth of experience, a history of accomplishments and a passion for service that will move the agency forward in its mission for the Commonwealth.”

Wright is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry.  He began his career with the Division of Forestry in 1994, working as a service forester. He was promoted to the position of chief forester in 2002 and was elevated in 2009 to the position of regional forester. He has been serving as Acting Kentucky Fire Chief since January.

Wright has served as a Division supervisor on numerous fire incidents during the most recent Spring and Fall fire seasons and has worked closely with the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on developing Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) guidelines for Kentucky. He lives in Lexington, Ky., where he has been a longtime youth basketball and baseball coach.

Vicini, who attended Southeast Community College in Cumberland, Ky., has extensive experience in mining, having served 45 years in a wide variety of management positions in coal companies ranging from mine superintendent to corporate chief inspector.

In his most recent position, Vicini was president of Safety Solutions, a Cumberland Ky. firm. He is president of the National Holmes Mine Rescue Association and has been a member of the state Mining Board since 2005. As corporate chief inspector for Arch Coal, from 2006 to 2014, Vicini had safety responsibilities for mines in seven states, (KY, VA, CO, Ill, UT, WY & WV) where he oversaw emergency preparedness, crisis management, mine rescue and all other safety functions such as programs, audits, behavior-based safety and regulatory activities.

He has won numerous awards and commendations, including one from former Kentucky Governor Jullian Carroll, for his work during the 1976 Scotia Mine disaster. He lives in Cumberland, Ky