Q and A with Greg Sanders: 2019 Champion of the Year
Greg Sander is the Job Corps and Veterans Fire Programs Workforce Program Manager with the USDA Forest Service. Greg is a 21CSC Champion of the Year for 2019. This Award recognizes individuals from agencies and organizations that partner with 21CSC programs to help engage the next generation of conservation and community leaders in service, education and training.
The 2019 Champions of the Year will be recognized at the annual Partnership for the 21CSC Meeting, happening February 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. This event is part of The Corps Network National Conference.
Tell us about your current role.
I work in Fire and Aviation Management with the USFS in Washington, DC. I am the Program Manager for Veterans and Job Corps Fire Programs.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in conservation/land and water management?
I started with the Forest Service right out of high school, working as a seasonal firefighter in Oregon. I grew up on a farm, but my Dad encouraged me to give it a try as he had also worked for the Forest Service while he was in college and really enjoyed it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was hooked.
Tell us about how you have engaged with Service and Conservation Corps.
In addition to working directly with Job Corps, where we have wildland fire programs established on all 25 of our Civilian Conservation Centers, I also engage with various 21CSC organizations as part of the Veterans Fire Corps.
What advice would you offer to other employees from land/water management agencies and nonprofits that are interested in partnering with 21CSC programs (What to expect, etc.)?
I would encourage partnering with a 21CSC program if given the opportunity. Contact the Service and Conservation Corps groups in your area to see what kind of projects they can help you with. Their team member and supervisors are very motivated, and are committed to do the best job they can.
What are the most beneficial aspects of partnering with a 21CSC Program?
In addition to getting work done on projects you may have, it exposes the members of those programs to your organization and the work you do. It is also a great way to recruit talented individuals for prospective employees into your agency.
What advice would you offer to young people in 21CSC programs who are interested in careers in conservation and land/water management?
Talk to a number of people in the kinds of careers that you might be interested in. Ask them about the good aspects of their jobs, but the downsides as well. When you’re trying to land your first job, apply for a number of positions. While you may not get an offer for a job and/or location on the top of your list, there may be other great opportunities for you to start a career in.