Rod Nelson, Eric Schwaab, George Thornton and Paul Vigano bring broad skill set, expertise to leadership of national sportsmen-conservation group.
The new directors were welcomed at the TRCP’s December board meeting, which took place in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
“At a time when hunters and anglers are facing unprecedented challenges to our ability to access and enjoy our time-honored outdoor traditions, we are fortunate to have these four dedicated sportsmen-conservationists working on our behalf,” said Dave Perkins, vice chairman of Orvis and chair of the TRCP board of directors. “The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership will be able to more effectively advance proactive policy solutions – and uphold the legacy of our namesake – with their expertise, support and wise counsel.”
Rod Nelson is a senior advisor for Schlumberger Limited and president and managing director of Liquid Robotics Oil & Gas. He was chairman of Schlumberger Technology Corp., the U.S. subsidiary, and vice president of government and community relations for Schlumberger Limited. Nelson is currently on the board of directors of Swift Worldwide Resources, previously served on the board of Vitruvian Exploration and is a senior advisor to Wellspring Capital Management. He serves on several joint industry steering committees including the Global Climate and Energy Program at Stanford and the Advanced Energy Consortium. Active in the community, Nelson is on the board of directors of the Spindletop Charities, Fort Bend Education Foundation, and UH Energy Advisory Board. He led the technology task group for the 2007 landmark National Petroleum Council’s global oil and gas study “Facing the Hard Truths about Energy.” Nelson holds a B.A. in engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an executive MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Eric Schwaab is the chief conservation officer for the National Aquarium. He most recently served as acting assistant secretary for conservation and management for the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Previously, as assistant administrator for fisheries at NOAA, Schwaab directed the National Marine Fisheries Service, where he led the agency’s requirement to end overfishing and efforts to improve coastal and ocean habitat conservation. Prior to his work with NOAA, Schwaab spent three years as deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, part of 20-plus years dedicated to conservation stewardship in Maryland. From 2003 into 2007, Schwaab served as Resource Director for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He holds a B.A. in biology from McDaniel College and an M.A. in geography and environmental planning from Towson University.
George Thornton has served as chief executive officer of the National Wild Turkey Federation since 2008. Under Thornton’s leadership, the NWTF has signed memorandums of understanding with all 50 state wildlife management agencies, along with federal agencies that conduct forest and wildlife management. In 2013, the NWTF launched its “Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.” initiative with three main objectives: conserve and enhance 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, create 1.5 million new hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting, shooting and outdoor enjoyment by the end of this decade. Mr. Thornton serves on the White House, Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and the board for the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Agriliance. Under Thornton’s leadership, Agriliance became the largest agricultural products distributor in North America with $4.1 billion in annual revenue, and in 2006, Thornton was named agribusiness leader of the year by the National Agricultural Marketing Association. Raised in Georgia, he holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He resides with his wife, Beth, in Edgefield, S.C.
Paul Vigano is the managing partner of J.H. Whitney & Co., a U.S. focused middle-market private equity firm, and chairs the firm’s investment committee. He has been with the firm for more than 16 years and leads the consumer products and specialty manufacturing investment teams. His board service includes terms with Pure Fishing, Brooks Sports, Igloo Coolers, Confluence Outdoors and Ignite Restaurant Group. Prior to joining Whitney, Vigano was a member of the mergers and acquisitions group at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of Michigan, B.B.A., where he graduated with high distinction, and he received an MBA from the Stanford University School of Business. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children.
“Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things,’” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “I believe that our new board members exemplify the drive and determination that Roosevelt envisioned when he spoke these words. We are honored to have these committed sportsmen join our leadership, and we look forward to working with them to advance the TRCP mission and carry on Roosevelt’s legacy.”
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About Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP)
Inspired by the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, the TRCP is a coalition of organizations and grassroots partners working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing.