Bowman to return to VMRC

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Steve Bowman is returning to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission for an encore term as commissioner. 

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement last week.

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The appointment puts to rest rumors that Bowman, who recently retired as Smithfield police chief and more recently, stepped down from the Smithfield Town Council, had other plans, such as running for sheriff or taking over as town manager. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Bowman, 58, said he willingly came out of retirement because it was an opportunity to serve a governor he’s known for a number of years, whom he believes in and who will be a champion and steward of the environment.

“I’m honored and privileged to be part of that program,” he said. 

Bowman takes the helm on March 19. 

Bowman had previously served as VMRC commissioner from 2006 to 2012 under former governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell. 

Prior to serving as commissioner, Bowman worked for the agency in a variety of positions, including deputy commissioner, chief of law enforcement and deputy chief of law enforcement. 

Before working at the VMRC, Bowman was chief deputy with the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and a Virginia State Trooper. He served as Smithfield’s police chief from 2012 to 2017 and was appointed to the Smithfield Town Council last October. Bowman has a bachelor of science in governmental administration from Christopher Newport University. 

Bowman currently lives in Smithfield and grew up along the James River in the town of Claremont. 

While Bowman was VMRC commissioner, Virginia’s oyster harvest more than tripled, the blue crab harvest more than doubled and the flounder stock more than quadrupled.

Upon returning to the job, Bowman plans to conduct an assessment of the agency based on information from department heads, and meet with his new boss, Secretary of Natural Resources, Matt Strickler. 

The plan is to make sure policies that are undertaken are in concert with the governor’s desires, he said. 

Ultimately, Bowman said he wants to make sure the Commonwealth’s marine resources are maintained and improved. 

The VMRC is one of Virginia’s oldest agencies and regulates fishing and habitat management, construction on tidal or navigable water and law enforcement. 

The Commission is overseen by a nine-member citizen commission, whose members are chosen and appointed by the governor, mandated by the General Assembly and live and work throughout the agency’s active jurisdiction. 

As commissioner, Bowman will serve as chairman of the commission.  {/mprestriction}