Outstanding Public Lands Professional Awards - 2010

Manager/Managerial - Administrative Category

Thomas E. Gow
Presentation of award (l to r): Henri Bisson, President of the Public Lands Foundation; Tom Gow, Awardee and Field Manager of BLM's Rio Puerco (NM) Field Office; Bob Abbey, Director of the Bureau of Land Management; and George Lea, Founder and Past-President of the Public Lands Foundation.

TOM GOW has served as the BLM’s Rio Puerco Field Manager for the past 10 years providing the Bureau of Land Management a national model for effective leadership, program accomplishment, and service to the public.  Tom and his staff have leveraged more than $9 million in contributed funding and over $7 million in BLM funds that were used for construction of wildlife habitat improvements, watershed restoration projects, and projects that accomplish BLM mission objectives and directly improve the quality of life for rural communities.

His efforts directly relate to maintaining FLPMA’s multiple-use mandate for public lands.  Tom worked to involve landowners and students in projects and development of the Best Management Practices resulting in greater awareness and support of the BLM and FLPMA by users of public lands and lasting improvements to land within the Rio Puerco watershed.

In the past five years, 250 Navajo students have participated in summer youth employment programs that also provide environmental education and watershed restoration training.

Tom provided outstanding vision and foresight through leadership and guidance to the San Luis/Cabezon Domestic Water Association in the funding and construction of the San Luis/Cabezon domestic waterline to two isolated villages in rural Sandoval County.  BLM granted a right-of-way to the water association that assured an adequate supply of water from a BLM water well to service 150 residences for the next 30 years.  The partnership between BLM and the water association resulted in running water in the homes in Cabezon and San Luis for the first time in their 200-year history.

Tom’s personal effort was critical in successfully negotiating the intergovernmental agreement between the BLM and the Pueblo de Cochiti for the management and protection of Kasha Katuwe/Tent Rocks National Monument.  This innovative co-management agreement saves the BLM and the public about $400,000 per year.  It also avoided potential conflict between the BLM and the Pueblo over levels and kinds of public uses that would be permitted at the Monument and addressed the Pueblo’s concerns regarding sacred sites in the area.

These examples of leadership would not have been possible without Tom’s commitment to making a difference for public land management over the long term.  Tom’s unique ability to meet with an extensive variety of interests, agencies, organizations and Tribes has resulted in a much higher degree of public involvement in planning and land management activities and support of BLM programs.  Over a six-year period, Tom completed four complex land exchanges involving two tribes and the State of New Mexico exchanging more than 18,000 acres of public lands identified for disposal for five parcels in three districts that provide exceptional recreation access and opportunities.

Tom Gow is a leader, manager and mentor.  In the past three years, Tom has used student hiring authorities to fill 12 permanent positions in his organization with motivated and vibrant employees.  Employees thrive under his guidance and direction and are motivated to grow toward their full potential.  Tom spends significant time and effort in counseling and advising employees and coaching and rewarding excellence in employee performance.

Tom Gow’s exceptional managerial and leadership performance have earned him the Public Lands Foundation’s Outstanding Public Land Professional Award for Managers for 2010.