Boundary County man named head of health district

Erik Ketner
Erik Ketner

Erik Ketner is the new Director of Panhandle Health District. The District’s Board of Health made the announcement Thursday after the decision was confirmed at their Board of Health meeting. The decision comes after a three-month national search to replace previous Director, Don Duffy, who announced his departure from the Health District in February 2024.

Ketner began his work with PHD in 2001 serving in the Environmental & Health Protection Division. For the last three years, Ketner served as the Environmental & Health Protection Division Administrator, overseeing the District’s Environmental, Institutional Controls, Preparedness, Facilities, and IT departments across the District’s five northern county jurisdiction.

“The Board made an excellent choice in selecting Erik as the Director,” said Marlow Thompson, PHD Board Chairman. “Erik has continuously demonstrated his skills in leadership and his deep knowledge of the District has been integral in recent years to guide board members, county commissioners, and legislators to educated decisions regarding impacts to the environment in North Idaho.”

Ketner started his career in roles as an Environmental Health Specialist and Water Analyst, eventually rising to the rank of Division Administrator. Under Ketner’s leadership, the Environmental Division was able to successfully collaborate with city and county officials to implement ordinances to maintain protections for the Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, developed an assessment protocol that was adopted by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality for the statewide assessment of the on-site sewage disposal program, and created the food safety program standard operating procedures manual that has been adopted statewide. Ketner earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Lewis Clark State College.

“I’m excited to build upon all the great work that has been done at the District,” said Ketner. “We have a talented and dedicated team that I’m proud to have the opportunity to serve alongside in this new capacity.”

Ketner, the son of Chris adnd Paulette Ketner, was born and raised in Boundary County and currently resides in Kootenai County. He enjoys spending his free time with his three adult daughters, mountain biking and traveling.