Tom Salzer (BS Geology, 1979)

Executive Director, Washington Association of Conservation Districts, Olympia, WA

After managing the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon City, Oregon for nine years, I returned home to Washington in January 2020 to begin leading the Washington Association of Conservation Districts.

Prior to my work in Oregon, I spent 13 years working for the Washington State Conservation Commission, providing service to Washington's 45 conservation districts as they work with private landowners to conserve our renewable natural resources.

Prior to 1997, I managed a small conservation district in northeast Washington State, served as Senior Mine Geologist at a 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 -- experiences.

What I learned about the physical world and about myself has been useful in every job since graduation in 1979. That continues to be true to this day. I constantly call on the scientific foundation for my geology degree.

Jan (also a CWU grad) and I have been married since 1977. She taught K-5 music until a few years ago. She now substitute teaches. We enjoy sailing and traveling, finding fulfillment in the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

I still love geology. Jan still points out faults as we drive through various landscapes, reminiscent of my structural geology class when we would take brooms with us on I-90 and sweep snow off outcrops to examine them.

I'm a licensed amateur radio operator, license KJ7T.

Reach me at tsalzer [at] gmail [dot] com.

Information last updated on Jan 27, 2020