Tom Salzer (BS Geology, 1979)

Soil and Water Conservation District Manager in Oregon City, Oregon

I'm managing the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon City, Oregon.

After 13 years working for the Washington State Conservation Commission, I chose to get closer to the land and the people who work it. I have to say the geomorphology of Clackamas County is pretty interesting. My area covers from southeast Portland to Mt. Hood!

Prior to 1997, I managed a small conservation district in northeast Washington State, served as Senior Mine Geologist at narrow-vein underground gold mine, explored for gold-silver-copper deposits in Indonesia, worked for some gold mines in Nevada, and did general minerals exploration across the western United States.

For me, geology has been about solving complex puzzles, detecting patterns other people didn't see. I'm still solving puzzles and problems. My classes at CWU helped me develop critical thinking skills and a level of self discipline I still use every day. Structural geology, mineralogy, invertebrate paleontology, and sedimentology courses stand out clearly in my memory as intensely demanding -- and incredibly satisfying -- courses. What I learned about the physical world and about myself has been useful in every job since graduation in 1979.

Jan (also a CWU grad) and I have been married since 1977. She teaches elementary music in Shelton, Washington. Two of our three children are still at home, but it won't be too long before they all fly high and free.

We enjoy sailing. It fulfills our interest in the beauty and complexity of the natural world. The photo is of me hiking to Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island in the San Juan Islands, during a week-long sailing trip in August 2007.

I still love geology. Jan still points out faults as we drive across the state, reminiscent of my structural geology class when we would take brooms with us on I-90 and sweep snow off outcrops to map them. My sailing gives me a chance to explore landforms from an entirely different perspective. And of course, the San Juan Islands are really all quite unique. My geology background gives me a richer, more complete appreciation of Washington State.

I recently became a licensed ham, call sign KF7DGF. I expect to get that to change soon to something I can remember, and that recalls my good years as a geologist. I've requested the call sign W3ROK, which can be pronounced: WE ROCK!

Information last updated on Sep 18, 2010