Senior Vice President, Forests and Freshwater, World Wildlife Fund
Tom's two proudest conservation accomplishments took place thousands of miles apart. He established and led the transboundary conservation program that has grown into WWF's Mekong program. This included discovering new species and getting new land protections established across the region while building our efforts in Vietnam and expanding our work into Laos and Cambodia. In the Amazon he helped design and develop the Amazon Protected Areas Program which has now conserved more than 50 million acres in the Brazilian Amazon - an achievement widely considered one of the most dramatic advancements in conservation over the last 30 years. His time in the field is filled with diverse activities. One recent month found him promoting ecotourism on the border of Laos and Cambodia, meeting with government and corporate leaders in Thailand, then flying to Namibia to assess progress in our partnerships with indigenous people to improve their livelihoods by conserving black rhino, elephant and cheetah populations. And he wouldn't have it any other way. For nearly 20 years, Tom has channeled his passions and dedicated his career to conservation. There are few places he hasn't visited and few species he hasn't acted to protect. Tom finds his greatest satisfaction working with human populations. "I became interested in the environment, in large part, from growing up in the developing world and seeing how degraded environments were hurting people and diminishing their lives."