Pat Solano PA conservation figure

Patrick J. Solano

Pat Solano has led a long life dedicated to public service: 40 years, in fact. The Pennsylvania Society awarded him the 2016 Distinguished Citizen Award for “…his decades of contributions as a leader in Pennsylvania politics, service in several senior state government positions, as counselor to governors, and heroic wartime service in Europe.” Quite the lasting legacy.

Pat grew up in Pittston Township, then joined the Army Air Corps, where he flew several missions to Europe during World War II. Years later, he became Deputy Secretary of the Department of Environmental Resources, and served as the acting Secretary in 1995 when the agency was split into two (the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources).

Pat served as senior counselor to governors like Ridge and Schweiker. Pat once said, “I have always strived to engage the members of the General Assembly, state agencies, and the private sector into one cohesive working force.” This ethos is obvious through his work on both sides of the aisle to protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources.

Former Governor Tom Corbett remarked that, “In state government, if you just say the word ‘Pat’, everybody knows who you are talking about. They know it’s Pat Solano.”

One reason for this are the accolades he has received, including the Thomas P. Shelbourne Award from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, and the Government Award from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society. He was given that award for his “leadership, dedication, and commitment to protecting and improving state and local parks, recreation, and open space.” In addition, an environmental education center at Frances Slocum State Park was named in his honor in 2013, so that future generations will learn about the environment and one of its champions.