Thomas G. Boggus

Thomas G. Boggus: Interim Director (2008–2010) and Eighth State Forester of Texas (2010–Present)

On June 1, 2008, shortly after James B. Hull retired as TFS director, the Texas A&M University Board of Regents appointed Associate Director Thomas G. Boggus as interim director. He was officially named TFS director and the state’s eighth state forester on February 12, 2010. In a 2013 interview by Diamond, Boggus emphatically stated, “I ignored the interim title. We had a drought and fire season coming up, we had Hurricane Ike; I didn’t think this agency was one you could babysit and maintain until they (TAMU Board of Directors) make a decision. I went at it like I was the director. In my mind, and in the way I treated it, on June 1, 2008, I became director of the Texas Forest Service.”

Boggus was born in San Angelo and raised in the arid flatlands of Fort Stockton, Texas. A trailer trip to the western United States and camping out in various national forests during his youth convinced him he wanted to be a forester. He studied forestry at SFASU, as did many TFS foresters, and graduated with a BS in forestry and a master’s in wildlife management. He joined TFS on August 15, 1980, first as a Forester I in Linden, then a Forester II in Lufkin. On January 1, 1987, he was transferred to College Station as Staff Forester III in the Forest Management Department under Department Head Edwin Barron. When Director Bruce Miles retired in 1996 and Jim Hull became agency director, Boggus was named assistant director and served as administrative director of the agency. In 2003, Boggus became head of the Forest Management Department. He is the fifth state forester to be selected from within the agency, the third to rise through the TFS ranks from a field forester position, and the second to graduate from a Texas forestry school. He is a long-standing member of the Texas Forestry Association serving as TFA president in 2007. He earned the Laurence C. Walker Distinguished Service to Forestry Award given by the Texas Chapter of the Society of American Foresters in 2009 and is a SAF Fellow. For outstanding service to the citizens of Texas, Boggus received the Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow Award in 2007. In 2013, he was recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus of SFASU.

Boggus maintains an open-door policy to administration. He requires every new employee to spend his/her first two days at TFS headquarters in College Station, participating in new employee orientation that includes a visit with him. Under Boggus’s direction, TFS successfully completed an intensive Legislative Sunset Committee review.

With his leadership, and assistance from Fire Chief Mark Stanford and his staff, the Resource Protection Division gained substantial additional funding from the state legislature in 2009 and 2013 and over one hundred and fifty new employees to expand the goals of the Wildfire Protection Plan throughout the state as well as gaining additional funding for the VFDs of Texas. As leader of an agency with 550 employees spread across the state, Boggus faces a challenge trying to know and stay in touch with everyone working under him. But, just like the state agency he loves, his book of achievements remains a work in progress.