Why They’ve Earned Our Notice:
On March 1st, Mark Zinke joined Donald Trump’s cabinet as the Secretary of the Interior. In doing so, he becomes the 52nd person to hold that position and the first Montanan to occupy a cabinet position. Before joining the current administration, this Navy SEAL served two years in the Montana Senate and two more in the legislature. While in the house, Zinke used his power to support troops in the Middle East and battle against both the affordable care act and more stringent environmental regulations. In his new job, he’s responsible for the management and conservation of our nation’s national resources. Considering his pessimistic views on both climate change and environmental protectionism, his nomination is rather ironic.
Zinke made a name for himself in the military. In 22 years, he rose from the rank of a Navy SEAL to that of a Navy Commander. In 2004, he was elected as the acting commander of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in the Arabian Peninsula. Less than four years later, he would establish the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command and work as its “Dean” until his 2008 retirement. For his more than two decades of service, he was awarded two Bronze Stars, four Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and two Defense Meritorious Service Medals.
While serving as commander, Mark founded a property management company by the name of Continental Divide. He would late pass this company on to his family and retain an advisory role.
Personal Life and Education:
While he was born in Bozeman, Ryan spent most of his young life growing up in Whitefish. The son Ray Dale Zinke and Jean Montana, Ryan grew up in an All-American, “blue collar” family. By the time, he reached high school, however, his football skills earned him the notice of numerable college recruiters. He would go on to play linebacker, and later offense, for the University of Oregon.
In 1984, Zinke graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. After taking a few years off, he would go on to earn a Master of Business Administration from National University in 1993. Ten years later, he enrolled at the University of San Diego to complete a Master of Science in Global Leadership.
Zinke is currently married to his wife Lolita and father to three adult children. He splits his time evenly between Washington D.C., his hometown, and Santa Barbara.