Sally Jewel Interior Sec w Obama-WHphotoPresident Obama on Wednesday nominated Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) chief executive Sally Jewell to head the Interior Department.

Jewell began her career as an engineer for Mobil Oil and worked as a commercial banker before heading the nearly $2 billion outdoors equipment company. But she has also earned national recognition for her support for outdoor recreation and habitat conservation.

“She knows the link between conservation and good jobs,” said Obama at the White House where he introduced her as his nominee. “She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand. She has shown that a company with more than $1 billion in sales can do the right thing for our planet.”

Ms. Jewell represents an unconventional choice for a post usually reserved for career politicians from the West.

(READ more of the story from the Washington Post)

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