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About the Director

DEQ Director, David K. Paylor

DEQ Director, David K. Paylor

David K. Paylor was appointed director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality by Governor Ralph Northam in 2018 and previously appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe in January 2014 and by Governor Bob McDonnell in 2010. He originally was appointed director by Governor Timothy Kaine in 2006.


Paylor’s career began in 1973 with the State Water Control Board and continued with DEQ. He began as a field biologist and held a variety of positions after that as an aquatic ecologist, water resources manager, director of petroleum programs, and director of operations. Paylor is president of the Environmental Research Institute of the States.


Paylor graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and received his master’s degree from Oregon State University in fisheries science. He and his wife, Lesa, have two children, Kelsey and Grant.  His hobbies include camping, canoeing and woodworking.


In the News

T2015 Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution to David K. Paylorhe Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VNRLI) recognized DEQ Director David K. Paylor as the recipient of the 2015 Gerald P. McCarthy Award for Leadership in Environmental Conflict Resolution on June 11. VNRLI presents the McCarthy Award annually to an individual who demonstrates leadership in preserving and protecting the Commonwealth's environment through collaboration.

For more than 40 years, Paylor has promoted environmental stewardship in his roles within Virginia's government. He is regarded as an influential leader who has helped the state face some of its greatest environmental challenges, including the effort to address nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and implementation of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). His dedication to stakeholder engagement and collaborative problem solving has led to significant achievements in the areas of renewable energy permitting, water supply and groundwater management. 

Recent Presentations

Management of Coal Ash in Virginia, presentation to Virginia State Board of Health, March 17, 2016

Keynote Address, Second Virginia Marine Debris Summit, Wednesday, March 8, 2016

Final Clean Power Plan Presentation at the Commerce and Labor Committee, January 18, 2016

Management of Groundwater in Eastern Virginia, presentation to State Water Commission, July 22, 2015

Building for the Long Run, presentation to Environmental Council of the States, March 17, 2015

Virginia Coastal Plain Groundwater Issues, College of William & Mary, March 2015.


James River Chlorophyll Study Update, House Ag, Chesapeake & Natural Resource Committee, January 2015.


Climate Commission Next Steps, Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Commission, September 2014.


The Past, Present and Future of Coal Ash Management in Virginia, State Water Commission, June 2014.


Environmental Permitting 101, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, May 2014.


Celebrating Our Success, Environment Virginia, April 2013.

Testimony Regarding State Assumption of Clean Water Act Section 404, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, September, 2012.

How Government Can Promote Sustainability, Corporate Sustainability Roundtable with Governor Bob McDonnell, April 23, 2012.

Virginia’s Model Wind Ordinances:  Local Government/Stakeholder/DEQ Collaboration, Environment Virginia conference, April 10, 2012.


Finding the Right Solution, an interview with Virginia Business in March 2012.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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