The former conservation superintendent in Stratford has been hired as Fairfield conservation director, a job left vacant when the town's only conservation director --Thomas Steinke -- retired last year after more than four decades.

Brian Carey, who started on the job Friday, started Stratford's first Brownfield program, which has received more than $4 million in federal and state funding since its inception in 2011, according to the announcement of his appointment.

A lifelong Fairfield resident, Carey has also served as Stratford's inland wetland agency and certified tree warden, as well as working at several jobs at the Department of Public Works in Stratford.

"I feel very honored and excited to take on the position of the conservation director for the town of Fairfield.," Carey said in the announcement issued by the office of First Selectman Michael Tetreau. "I look forward to helping the town keep its historically strong commitment to protecting the local environment while also working to find efficiencies in the current Conservation Department operations to help streamline processes for local residents."

After growing up in town, Carey said, being offered the job as the local conservation director is a "dream come true."

Carey holds several registrations and licenses, which include: hazardous waste materials transportation training and testing certification, OSHA hazardous waste operator certification, hazardous waste materials transportation and testing certification, DEEP certified wetland agent, DEEP certified master wildlife conservationist and state supervisory pesticide applicator license.

He graduated from Fairfield College Preparatory School and Virginia Tech, where he earned a bachelor's degree in natural resource management.

Carey "brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position which will be essential to the many duties he will be performing for our town," Tetreau said in the announcement. "I look forward to our community getting to know Mr. Carey whose expertise will help the Conservation Department continue the great work it has been providing for our citizens and for our environment."

Prior to working for the town of Stratford, Carey worked at Arcadis, Inc. in Sandy Hook as a senior staff scientist, preparing environmental site assessments, providing Superfund site management and maintenance, hydrogeological investigations, groundwater treatment system design and technical report preparation.