Skip to main content

Meet the Staff

A photo of Wade Free with a harvested turkey.

Wade Free
Interim Director
(405) 522-6279

Wade Free’s 40-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation began in 1983 when he was hired as Fish Hatchery Assistant after receiving a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology with Management Option from Oklahoma State University. After three years, he earned a promotion in the agency’s then called Game Division as an Area Manager. Shortly after a decade of service he was promoted to Assistant Chief of Game Division, where he immediately went to work influencing the Department to change the name of the division to Wildlife Division, to more accurately reflect and recognize native, non-game species and the role of the agency in managing their populations and habitats. 

Taking a non-traditional path to the executive leadership office, Wade left the headquarters and returned to the field for a 15-year stint as a Regional Wildlife Supervisor where he was able to help share the field perspective with administration while also being able to raise his kids in the rural environment that his family wanted to experience. In 2011, with his family established in rural northwest Oklahoma, he was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations. In 2023 he was appointed as Interim Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.


Nels Rodefeld, Chief of Communication & Education

Nels Rodefeld
Communication and Education Chief
(405) 521-3855

Nels Rodefeld has been the Chief of Information and Education Division since 2006. He oversees education programs, publications, television, and website content.


Wildlife Chief

Bill Dinkines
Wildlife Chief
(405) 521-2739

Bill Dinkines has been Chief of  Wildlife Division since 2019. He oversees all biologists and technicians on Wildlife Management Areas as well as wildlife research initiatives.


Kenneth Cunningham, Chief of Fisheries

Kenneth Cunningham
Fisheries Chief
(405) 521-3721

Kenneth Cunningham has been Chief of Fisheries Division since 2022. He oversees four state fish hatcheries, a research laboratory, and regional biologists and technicians.


Lt Col Nate Erdman in uniform in front of US and Oklahoma flag.

Nathan Erdman
Law Enforcement Chief
(405) 521-3719

Nathan Erdman has been Chief of Law Enforcement Division since 2019. He oversees over 100 game wardens stationed in all 77 counties.