The professional career of Pedro Ramos, superintendent of the Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks, started even before the Puerto Rico native graduated in Vermont as a student trainee with the US Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. After getting a bachelor of science from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, he was relocated to the US Virgin Islands.
“I arrived there as a recent college graduate, responsible for the administration of a number of community development programs, including financing housing and financing small businesses,” he said. “One of the most formative experiences early in my career was, in the Virgin Islands, working very closely with then Gov. Roy Schneider to advance the affordable housing goals of the US for the people of the Virgin Islands, and I ended up spending just short of seven years there.”
Mr. Ramos then was invited to come back to the mainland by a presidential appointee, and he moved to Burlington, VT, as director for administration for Vermont, New Hampshire, and the US Virgin Island, where he reorganized the way in which the administration had done business for decades.
That “taught me a lot about government service and equipped me well to eventually compete successfully to make it down here with the National Park Service,” he said.
Mr. Ramos joined the National Park Service in 2001 as an administrative officer at Big Cypress National Preserve, in 2005 he was named deputy superintendent, and in 2009 he was appointed superintendent.
“Twenty-two years later I am still down here in South Florida. I love working for the National Park Service, and now I am responsible to oversee not only Everglades National Park as its superintendent but also Dry Tortugas National Park; Biscayne National Park, which I consider to be the front yard of Miami; and Big Cypress. I now oversee all four national park service units in South Florida,” he said.
Superintendent Ramos is overseeing 2.5 million acres of land and waters; over 400 federal employees, including law-enforcement operations, firefighting, resource management, outreach, and education; “and just about every other discipline that we have here to make all the magic happen for the National Park Service in South Florida.”
Pedro Ramos spoke with Miami Today reporter Gabriela Henriquez Stoikow.
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