Derek I. Sandison was appointed director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture by Gov. Jay Inslee in June 2015.
Sandison, a lifelong Washington resident, has worked in both the public and private sectors for more than 40 years. Before his current appointment, Sandison served as director of the Office of Columbia River within the state Department of Ecology. There, he was responsible for projects to develop water supplies vital for the state’s agricultural community. Previously, he led Ecology’s Central Region, an area composed of seven counties stretching from Canada to Washington’s southern border.
Other career experience includes 14 years as senior vice president of a Northwest consulting firm and 12 years in local government.
As state agriculture director, Sandison supports and promotes Washington’s rich and diverse agricultural industry both nationally and internationally. He is described as a problem-solver, who does not shy away from tough issues. He said, “The director’s position offers me a unique opportunity to provide leadership and help forge collaborative solutions to a host of issues facing Washington’s agriculture community.”
Sandison has a master’s of science in natural resource management and a bachelor’s degree in biological science, both from Central Washington University. He has received many awards throughout his career, including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s John W. Keys III Award for building partnerships and strengthening relationships and the Washington Governor’s Leadership in Management Award.