Biography

G. J. Thomas Sadler, Jr.

Tom is the Executive Director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He oversees the day to day operations of this 1000+ member and supporter based organization. OWAA, the Voice of the Outdoors, is the oldest and largest group of outdoor communicators in the country. OWAA works to improve the skills of its members, set ethical communications standards, encourage enjoyment and conservation of the outdoors and mentor the next generation of communicators. Tom oversees the day to day operations of the association and is the primary spokesman for the group.

Prior to OWAA, Tom left Washington D.C. to pursue his passion for fly-fishing and conservation. He started The Middle River Group to provide strategic and tactical marketing, communications and government relations expertise to the conservation and wildlife management community and the hunting, fishing and shooting sports industry. He was a freelance sportswriter and outdoor column for the News Virginian (Waynesboro), exploring national conservation issues, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. He continues to write on these and other topics on his blog: Middle River Dispatches (middleriverdispatch.com).

Prior to starting the Middle River Group, Tom was the Director of Program Development for the Trust for Public Land in Washington, DC. He was responsible for establishing stronger ties with the hunting and fishing community in support of projects and programs and strengthening TPL’s involvement in existing federal programs, particularly those involving fish and wildlife habitat. 

Before TPL he spent five years with the Izaak Walton League of America, serving as the Conservation Director his last two years. He was responsible for the League’s conservation education and outreach programs, policy advocacy and development of the League’s legislative agenda and strategies.

Before joining the Izaak Walton League, Tom served as President of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. Prior to that he was a lobbyist for two major U.S. corporations, a regional representative for the U.S. Olympic Committee and a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Warren B. Rudman.

Tom has been involved in coalition building and grass roots organizing for much of his professional career. He has been active in creation of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, FishNet, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Tom’s volunteer activities reflect his passion for fishing and conservation. He currently serves on the boards of the Massanutten Chapter of Trout Unlimited as President and is Vice Chairman of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.

He has served on the boards of the National Fisheries Friends Partnership, Valley Conservation Council, the Virginia Council of Trout Unlimited, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, the Federation of Fly Fishers, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and the Shenandoah Mountain Rescue Group, and on the steering committee of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a National Fish Habitat Partnership and as the Virginia representative on Trout Unlimited’s National Leadership Council.

Tom spent fourteen years as a public affairs officer in the Unites States Navy Reserve retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Hampshire.

He is a lifelong fly fisherman, guide and instructor specializing in the tenkara method. Tom and his wife Beth, live with their black lab Lily in the Shenandoah Valley town of Verona, Va.