James Hess

James Hess has 30 years of experience in conflict management, consensus building and natural resources management. Prior to his retirement from the Department of the Interior in July 2020, James served as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), which built and operates many of the largest and most iconic water and hydropower projects in the world—including Hoover Dam.  In that role he facilitated operational, administrative and logistical decision-making, and oversaw a program to negotiate agreements between Reclamation, water users, Tribes and other stakeholders to facilitate the transfer of ownership of federally owned water facilities to non-Federal entities. In addition, he managed Reclamation’s internal workplace conflict management program. and developed and delivered training workshops on interest-based negotiating, conflict management and collaborative decision-making for Reclamation staff and its customers.