Sherman was one of three appointments Ritter announced Thursday.
Ritter has also picked former Denver Fire Chief Rich Gonzales to head the Department of Personnel and Administration.
Additionally, he nominated health-care policy professional Joan Henneberry to oversee Health Care Policy and Financing.
The nominations require state Senate confirmation.
Sherman served as head of the Department of Natural Resources from 1975 to 1980 under former Governor Dick Lamm. He left to become a senior partner with the law firm of Arnold and Porter, practicing law in the areas of natural resources, environment, water, land-use and public-land use.
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