Election Results: Meet the New TWS Council Members

By Nick Wesdock

New council members

The results are in from this year’s TWS Council elections: Congratulations to John McDonald, Mike Conner, Fidel Hernández and Art Rodgers! All four of them will be installed at the TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg in October. Meet your new members of Council!

john-mcdonaldJohn McDonald

Vice President

John McDonald’s vision for TWS is to gain wider recognition for the organization. Since being elected as Vice President, and eventually President, that vision has not changed.

“I’d like to see…our professional organization recognized more by society at large as the experts in wildlife science,” McDonald said, “I’d like to increase our visibility to the rest of the world. There are a lot of issues that people care about that are related to the things that our members do.”

McDonald believes that broadening the Society’s visibility to the public begins internally. During his tenure he would like to see members become more involved nationally and demonstrate the value of a relationship with TWS beyond the chapter level. He would also like TWS to be even more influential in wildlife policy issues by highlighting the Society’s stance on issues that are of concern to both members and the general public.

After serving as the Northeast Section Representative from 2008-2014, McDonald is looking forward to once again working with the organization. He never imagined he would one day become president of TWS when he joined as a college freshman. Since then, the 29-year member has been involved at the local and national level, serving as president of the New England chapter and as chair of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Committee.

“It’s probably the highest honor I can receive professionally,” McDonald said. “So it’s quite a meaningful event in my career.”

Growing up in rural Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, McDonald got his start in wildlife hunting and trapping as a teenager. He was astounded when he found out he could make a career out of his passion. Currently, he is an assistant professor of environmental science at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. 

Mike ConnerMike Conner

Southeastern Section Representative

Since becoming a TWS member in 1988, Mike Conner has served in countless positions within the organization. Beginning in October, the veteran member will be serving his first term as a section representative.

“I’m just looking forward to becoming more involved and seeing how Council operates,” he said, “I know that I can be a voice for the membership in the southeast.”

Conner says that he is honored to have been chosen by his peers to represent the Southeast Section. He is anxious to make a difference by reinforcing some of the positive changes he’s seen in the last several years and giving a voice to the chapters of his section. In the past five years or so, Conner says he has been very impressed with the level of student involvement in TWS and wants to do everything he can to encourage that. However, he feels also that overall membership has dropped, and wants to put more of a focus on recruitment.

“I’d like to visit as many of the state chapters as I can… and basically just encourage those members to join,” he said. “It’s my understanding that we have quite a few folks that are actually quite active at local chapter level but are not members of TWS.”

In addition to student participation and recruiting, Conner is interested in working to improve the visibility of the Journal of Wildlife Management.

Conner earned a master’s degree in wildlife ecology and a doctorate in forest resources, both from Mississippi State University. He is currently a scientist for the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in Newton, Ga.

Fidel HernándezFidel Hernández

Southwest Section Representative

Fidel Hernández got involved with TWS nearly 20 years ago as a student in Texas, eventually becoming the president of the state’s chapter. This will be his first stint as a section representative.

Mentorship has been one of Hernández’ major values throughout his involvement in the organization. His wish is to inspire young wildlife professionals to actively participate in their career fields. He has chaired and participated on several student committees in Texas and currently teaches at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the school where he received his doctorate in wildlife science.

During the summer months, Hernández enjoys doing fieldwork. He is currently teaching a month-long field ecology course in Wyoming.

Arthur R. RodgersArt Rodgers

Canadian Section Representative

Canadian Section Representative Art Rodgers was elected for his second three-year term on Council. He says that representing TWS members north of the border may give him a bit of a different perspective on Council activities than some of his American colleagues.

“I get to represent an entirely different country,” Rodgers said, adding that despite many similarities, there are some clear socio-economic differences between the two countries. His goal as representative is to “bring a Canadian perspective to Council and the business of TWS.”

He is happy about being re-elected and views this as great opportunity to continue contributing to TWS.

“I’ve been involved on several TWS committees — standing committees and so on — and so my goal in a simple sense is to continue working with those committees and see some of the recommendations that we’ve made through to the end,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers has served on over a dozen committees since joining TWS in 1996, but specifically mentioned the diversity, awards and publications committees as ones he would really like to see fulfill their charges. Other than that, he is looking forward to working with the new Council members and is excited to welcome members to Canada at this year’s conference in Winnipeg.

He currently works as a research scientist for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and has a doctorate in biology from York University in Toronto.

Thank You to All Candidates

TWS wishes to recognize all of the outstanding candidates who ran for office this year: Selma Glasscock (Vice President), Emily Jo “EJ” Williams (Southeastern Section Representative) and Kathy Granillo (Southwest Section Representative).

Nick WesdockNick Wesdock is The Wildlife Society’s Membership and Conferences Coordinator. You can follow him on Twitter at @nick_wesdock.

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