TWS President Bruce Thompson says the Society’s come a long way in a year

By David Frey

The Bureau of Land Management is signing on with The Wildlife Society as a premier partner, CEO Ed Thompson announced on Sunday at the annual TWS members meeting.

The BLM will join the U.S. Forest Service and Caterpillar, Inc., which are also premier partners.

Thompson took the stage this year for the first time as the Society’s CEO. The Society’s former chief operating officer, he was named executive director and CEO in April. He is its first executive director to come from a business background.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to be the new CEO,” Ed Thompson told the crowd. “I’m going to work very hard to earn your trust and respect.”

Thompson brings “a bit of a different background than TWS had previously,” said President Bruce Thompson, praising his “business acumen and dedication to our identity.”

Bruce Thompson said the organization has made important achievements since last year’s Annual Conference in Raleigh, N.C., and he urged members to view the organization through the lens of its strategic plan. Its five themes, he said, should guide the Society: impact on sustainability of wildlife populations; trusted source for science-based wildlife management and conservation; support, encouragement and enabling TWS members; networking to advance science-based conservation and professionally managed and financially robust organization.

Going through those five themes, Bruce Thompson told members that TWS staffers were working with the White House and Congress on wildlife issues. TWS journals have seen a steady rise in their impact factors, he said, and he stressed that those journals now come as a free member benefit.

“Just give me applause if you think this is a good member benefit,” he said, to a strong round of applause.

The selection of Ed Thompson is important in making sure the organization is professionally managed and financially robust, Bruce Thompson said, noting that the organization is in its fifth year of net positive revenue and has a net equity of nearly $2 million.

Ed Thompson spoke of reduced costs for members to publish in TWS journals and of plans to expand the Give Back program to students, allowing members to nominate another student to receive member benefits. He also announced plans to help boost funds to local and regional chapters.

“We are stronger together,” he said. “The more fragmented we are, the more we worry about our personal positions, the more we stop worrying about the future of wildlife conservation issues.”

Several awards were also announced:

Chapter of the Year: California Central Coast Chapter

Student Chapter of the Year: Missouri Western State University

Student Chapter Advisor of the Year: Susan N. Ellis-Felege

W.L. McAtee and G.V. Burger Award for Outstanding Service as an Associate Editor: Scott M. McCorquodale

TWS Fellows: Angela Fuller, Eric Pelren, David Anderson, Shane Mahoney, Katherine Parker, Merav Ben-David, Lisette Waits, Warren Conway, Kenneth Mayer, Roger Appelgate

Distinguished Service Award: Robert E. Jones, Andy Royle accepting on behalf of Jerry R. Longcore

Honorary Member: Thomas M. Franklin

David Frey is an editor at The Wildlife Society. Contact him at dfrey@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about his article. Read more of David's articles here.

You can follow him on Twitter at @davidmfrey.