A New Course
Fifteen years ago, Charles Gauvin convinced me to give up the cozy confines of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help him build Trout Unlimited into a true national conservation powerhouse. For me, that odyssey will end on June 14, when I move back across the Potomac to become the new president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP).
It has been a great run. Thanks in very large part to the Coldwater Conservation Fund and its members, TU has grown from a $5 million organization to a $26 million one. TU had a field staff of one when I started; today there are more than 100, doing everything from restoring rivers and reforming antiquated water laws to teaching kids the importance and joys of healthy streams and fish.
It's rare, I'm told, for people to look forward to going to work every day, but that's what it's been like for me at TU. And while I love the issues, it has really been the people who have made it so worthwhile, from my colleagues on the staff to the CCF members who took me under their wings early on and showed me the ropes. I will never forget fishing adventures and misadventures with the likes of Peg Keller and Bob Teufel, George Klein and Charlie Walton, Holly and Henry Wendt, Jim Kelley and Anne Morgan and so many others.
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing. TU helped to start the TRCP about seven years ago, and under the guidance and vision of former TU board member and CCF member Jim Range, the organization grew to national prominence. But since Jim's untimely death two years ago, it has needed a new spark, and I hope I can help provide that.
I am very happy to say that TU and the CCF have never been in better shape. New TU President and CEO Chris Wood and I have worked very closely since 2001 to help shape TU, and he has one of the best conservation minds in the business. Tom Stoddard, as the CCF's new chairman, is bringing a renewed energy and vision, which bodes well for the CCF and TU. And gone are the days when the TU national staff and the grassroots organization that makes TU so effective were aligned in name only. Today the entire organization seems to enjoy a unified sense of purpose, a unity that will be critical in addressing the challenges facing our wild rivers and fish.
Finally, some things will never change, including my weakness for being with friends on a river outside of cell phone coverage. So please do not hesitate to call or stop by if you're in the nation's capital. And thank you for all the support you've shown me and the CCF over the last 15 years.