Tom Swann, director of strategic projects and major gifts (Photo by Brian Clarkson)
What is your position at NCC?
Director of strategic projects and major gifts, BC Region
Where do you work?
I work out of the Vancouver office, but my travels take me to all of our natural areas in British Columbia.
How did you come to join the NCC team?
In 2001, I was called by the Nature Conservancy of Canada to do an appraisal on Tatlayoko Lake Ranch in 2001. Before this assignment I really knew nothing about the conservation business. This project gave me a great introduction to people and the principles under which NCC operates. I was invited to be a contractor half-time while I continued as a senior partner in my real estate consulting business in Vancouver. Three years later I accepted the position of director of land securement. And the rest is history.
When did you start with NCC?
My first contract was in 2001 when I wrote a purchase and sale agreement for NCC to acquire part of the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve.
What is your educational background and previous experience?
I graduated from BCIT with a degree in mining, after which I worked in the mining exploration business all over BC, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. This inspired my interest in these landscapes. Eventually I went into real estate, first as a salesperson in West Vancouver then as an appraiser, which I continued after becoming a partner in a major company in Vancouver. I worked with the real estate company for 26 years before joining NCC. My experience as an appraiser has been invaluable in my work at NCC.
What are you hoping to achieve through your work at NCC?
When I first started doing the securement part of the business we were focussed on smaller properties in a more opportunistic way. As we became more sophisticated it became clear that we could change the way we were doing business and focus more on science, which opened up the door to larger and more significant projects. Bigger is better — complex, better yet. My objective is to leave a legacy to the next generations of those important places that I have fallen in love with.
Describe a typical day at work.
A good day for me would be to go and inspect a new prospective property with the landowner and develop the necessary trusting relationship with them, prior to conducting the business. What would make it even better would be to do so by way of a helicopter, on the back of a horse or in a 4x4 down a long bumpy road!
What are your hobbies/interests outside work?
Riding horses on a working ranch, skiing, swimming, hiking, puttering around my farm on Bowen Island.