Meet the Deputy Commissioners


Charles O. Bush Jr.

Deputy Commissioner Charles O. Bush Jr. 

Charles O. Bush Jr. returned to Fish and Wildlife after five years in the Kentucky Finance Cabinet where he served as Director of the Division of Real Properties and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Facilities and Support Services. There, he worked on the Governor’s Smart Government Initiative, oversaw the purchase of property for state government and worked on the Dawkins Trail, a rail-to-trail project that stretches through Johnson, Magoffin and Breathitt counties.     

Charles previously served 15 years as Director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Division of Engineering. While in this position he supervised construction of numerous Department boat ramps, fishing piers, conservation camp and WMA projects, and many Salato Wildlife Education Center exhibits.     

Charles is a registered civil engineer. He earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He then worked more than seven years with the Division of Abandoned Mine Lands in the Natural Resources Cabinet. While with Abandoned Mine lands, Charles designed repairs for mine related problems and oversaw the work of consultants who worked with the program.      

Deputy Commissioner Bush was born in Trigg County, but grew up in Frankfort. He still calls Trigg County home and returns every year to the farm his father grew up on for deer and turkey hunting.

He is married to the former Sandra Shroat of Frankfort. They have two daughters – one a third grade teacher in Frankfort, and the other a physical therapist at Cardinal Hill Hospital in Lexington. Both are married and Charles looks forward to introducing his sons-in-law to the enjoyment of the outdoors.

Karen Waldrop

Deputy Commissioner Karen Waldrop

Dr. Waldrop began her association with KDFWR in 1999 when she began working on the elk restoration program in southeastern Kentucky as a graduate student and lead researcher. That grew into a 2004 post-doctoral study with the University of Kentucky that continued her elk research and management work. She then joined the department as the Research Program Coordinator in March 2005. In 2007, Dr. Waldrop became the Wildlife Division Director. As the Wildlife Division Director, she was responsible for long-range planning and policy development for the division, as well as overseeing statewide and regional programs for wildlife, including game species, migratory birds, furbearers, endangered species and land management. Dr. Waldrop served in that role for almost 8 years before accepting the position as Deputy Commissioner in September 2014.

Dr. Waldrop has a diverse background in wildlife management and conservation. During her educational and professional career, she has worked with multiple species including white-tailed deer, elk, reptiles/amphibians, and small game and on a variety of projects focusing on wildlife disease issues, habitat-based management, and restoration efforts. She has been a hunting and angling enthusiast most of her life, and she credits her parents for her sound conservation and management values. She enjoys squirrel hunting with her treeing feist squirrel dog Annie, striper fishing, rabbit hunting, crappie fishing, archery hunting for deer and elk, and turkey hunting.

She received her BS from the University of Georgia in Wildlife Biology and Forestry and received her MS from UGA in 1999 in Wildlife Biology. She earned her doctorate from Clemson University in 2004, where she studied parasite and disease issues associated with elk restoration in Kentucky.

She resides in Frankfort with her husband, Glenn, and stepson Zachery.