During a recent conversation with a long-standing member of our conservation district community, I began to think about a possible relationship between conservation district success and the people who have served in leadership positions. Let’s examine that thought.
It’s a given that some conservation districts have become quite successful if one measures success by the amount of funding received, by uptake of conservation services, and by the number of conservation district staff.
It’s a given that some conservation district supervisors have been active at the state level through sitting on the Washington State Conservation Commission or serving as an officer or director of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts. Similarly, some conservation district staff have participated in the leadership of the Washington Association of District Employees.
Is there a causal link between these two things? Is the success of a conservation district driven, in part, by the broader perspective and greater leadership skills acquired by our state-level leaders? Or are our leaders a result of a conservation district achieving more success?
A possible relationship between district success and serving in leadership is interesting to consider. For example, take a moment to examine the list of WACD’s past presidents and the conservation districts they hailed from. Many of those conservation districts are now leading lights in our conservation district world. Were they so when their supervisor served as WACD president? I think the answer is: not always. That spurs the thought that perhaps the act of serving in leadership helped their district become more successful.
Naturally, I like that idea very much because it means that one way to help districts become more successful is to recruit more leaders from districts that have room to grow. I like it because it means that serving in leadership provides value not only to our statewide community but also to each leader’s home conservation district.
Below is our table of past presidents. By the way, if you know the information for the blank entries below, please do share that information with us.
Always yours for conservation,
Tom Salzer, WACD Executive Director
|WACD President||Term||Conservation District|
|Mike Mumford||2022-||Pend Oreille Conservation District|
|Jeanette Dorner||2019-2022||Pierce Conservation District|
|Tom Miller||2017-2018||Spokane County Conservation District|
|Mark Craven||2016||Snohomish Conservation District|
|Alan Stromberger *||2013-2015||Lincoln County Conservation District|
|David Guenther||2011-2013||Central Klickitat Conservation District|
|Chris Herron||2009-2011||Franklin Conservation District|
|Dean Longrie||2007-2008||Clark Conservation District|
|Fred Colvin||2006-2007||Thurston Conservation District|
|Paul Stoker||2004-2006||Othello Conservation District (now Grant CD)|
|Wade Troutman||2001-2003||Foster Creek Conservation District|
|Colleen Bennett||2000-2002||Central Klickitat Conservation District|
|Larry Cochran||1997-1999||Palouse Conservation District|
|Linda Arcuri||1995-1997||Pierce Conservation District|
|Bob Haberman||1993-1995||Kittitas County Conservation District|
|Ronald Juris||1991-1993||Eastern Klickitat Conservation District|
|J. Read Smith||1989-1991||Palouse - Rock Lake Conservation District|
|Howard Jaeger *||1987-1989||Cowlitz Conservation District|
|Merrill Camp||1983-1985||Walla Walla County Conservation District|
|Gerald B. Digerness||1981-1983||Whatcom Conservation District|
|R. E. Cornelius, Sr. *||1979-1981||North Yakima Conservation District|
|Charles W. O'Neill, Jr.||1977-1979|
|George Carstens||1975-1977||Lincoln County Conservation District (?)|
|John Snider, Jr.||1973-1975||Hi-Land Soil Conservation District (now North Yakima CD)|
|Wayne Reid *||1971-1973||Palouse Conservation District|
|Francis "Bud" Clerf||1969-1971||Kittitas County Conservation District|
|Conrad Hougen||1967-1969||Whatcom Conservation District|
|H. Scott Barr||1965-1967||Stevens County Conservation District|
|Robert Whitmore||1963-1965||South Palouse Conservation District|
|Robert F. Wiley||1961-1963||Ahtanum-Moxee Conservation District (now North Yakima CD)|
|James R. Setters||1959-1961||Palouse-Rock Lake Conservation District|
|Gay C. Digerness *||1957-1959||Whatcom Conservation District|
|Lyle Groundwater||1957||Thurston Conservation District|
|Oscar A. Camp||1955-1956||Whitman Conservation District|
|T. R. Hedges||1953-1954||Douglas Conservation District|
|Dave J. Doneen, Jr.||1951-1952||Whitman County (which district?)|
|Frank Carothers||1950||South Palouse Conservation District|
|Robert B. Webb||1948-1949||Wahkiakum Conservation District|
|J. W. Cornwall *||1946-1947||Latah-Rock Creek Conservation District (now Spokane)|
|R. L. Rutter, Jr.||1944-1945||Kittitas Conservation District|
|Henry J. Copeland||1942-1943||Walla Walla Conservation District|