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Mike Shields was born and raised in Anaconda. He received his bachelors degree with honors from Carroll College in 1974. While at Carroll he was the recipient of the Michael W. Murphy Memorial Award for outstanding collegiate citizenship. In 1981 he earned a Masters degree in public administration, with an emphasis natural resources management, from the University of Montana. He participated in the Senior Managers in Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government - Harvard University in 1991.
Shields served on the staff of the Montana Commission on Local Government assisting local study commissions in eastern Montana during the initial statewide voter review of local government. He then worked as a Congressional staff member in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for over a decade. As a Congressional staffer in the 1970's, his work focused on an array of natural resource and environmental legislation including the designation of the Great Bear Wilderness area and the Beartooth-Absorka Wilderness area as part of the National Wilderness System. He also assisted in the enactment of the Montana Wilderness Study Act. He was involved in a multi-year effort, which included a comprehensive analysis by the U.S. General Accounting Office, which recommended against the construction of the Libby Reregulation Dam on the Kootenai River in northwest Montana.
In the 1980's Shields served on the staff of Lt. Governor George Turman (D-MT) where his duties included local government relations and assisting in the defense of the Montana Coal Severance Tax before the U. S. Congress. He later served as the senior professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works under Chairman Quentin N. Burdick (DFL-ND) and was involved with the development and enactment of the landmark Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. For twenty years, Shields served as a senior manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. where he assisted in the implementation of clean air motor vehicle emission standards, and federal facility environmental enforcement. Shields concluded his nearly forty year public service career in 2014. He was awarded the EPA's Distinguished Career Service Award upon his retirement.
Shields and his wife, Opal Winebrenner, reside in Helena.
Shields, Mike and Barrett, Evan, "Biography of Mike Shields" (2015). Biographies and Photos of Series Participants. 3.