The BC Leadership Chair in Salmon Conservation has been named in honour of the memory of Tom Buell, who passed away on November 21st, 2003. Tom was passionate about the outdoors and an ardent supporter of a variety of environmental initiatives. He was best known as President and CEO of Weldwood of Canada, one of the North America’s largest forest products companies.
Tom was born in 1930 and grew up in northern Ontario, where he developed his keen interests in the outdoors. He graduated from the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto in the Class of ’56. Forty years later he would return to his alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate. After graduation, he worked as foreman of a logging camp in northern Ontario. In1964 he joined Weldwood, where his meteoric rise culminated in his being named president and CEO in 1975 and chairman in 1979. Under Tom’s leadership, Weldwood became one of the most profitable forest products companies in North America.
During his time at Weldwood, Tom was able to use his position and contacts to promote a progressive approach to environmental protection, integrated resource management and public participation in natural resource planning.
At various times in his career, Tom served on the boards of a number of major corporations including Champion International, Placer Dome, Timberwest, Air Liquide, B.C. Gas and Lafarge. He was a member of the Citizen’s Board of the Forest Alliance of British Columbia, the Vancouver Foundation, a director and Chairman of Wildlife Habitat Canada and a member of the Premier’s Economic Council.
When Tom died in 2003, a number of close friends searched for a fitting tribute to his memory. Around this time, Simon Fraser University and the Pacific Salmon Foundation were in discussions about establishing a BC Leadership Chair in Salmon Conservation. As Tom had been a keen angler and director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, his friends and family felt that it would be a fitting tribute to his memory to raise funds for the Chair in his name. The first chairholder, Dr John Reynolds, is delighted to be able to work in partnership with the many people who have contributed to the Chair in memory of such an energetic and passionate supporter of the outdoors.