July 10, 2019
MISSOULA, Mont. – OWAA’s board of directors elected Christine Peterson of Laramie, Wyoming, as second vice president and Tom Wharton of Salt Lake City, Utah, as secretary at its recent summer meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Peterson and Wharton officially took their new positions June 24, the same day Tim Mead of Charlotte, North Carolina, began his one-year term as OWAA’s new president. He replaces Paul Queneau of Missoula, Montana.
Wharton replaces Colleen Miniuk, whose three-year term as secretary ended at the Little Rock conference.
The board also promoted Pat Wray to first vice president for the coming year.
Mead, Wray, Peterson, Wharton and treasurer Tom Sadler serve as the executive committee of the OWAA board.
Peterson is a Wyoming-based freelance writer with byline credits in Outdoor Life, National Geographic, Cool Green Science, High Country News and others. She recently completed a three-year term on OWAA’s board of directors and was named board member of year in 2018. Before launching her freelance career, Peterson was managing editor and outdoors editor of the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s statewide newspaper.
Peterson’s duties in the coming year include working with Wray to develop program content for OWAA’s 2020 conference June 27-29 at Jay Peak, Vermont. She will become OWAA president in 2021.
She lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, 3-year-old daughter, and a yellow Labrador.
“I care deeply about OWAA and about its future,” Peterson said. “I attended my first conference to receive an EIC award, but immediately realized the value of both the conference experience and OWAA’s network of members. I want to help OWAA offer that same experience to even more members. I hope to continue OWAA’s outreach efforts to outdoor communicators in and outside of the organization and help it grow and address the challenges of an ever-changing industry.”
Wharton is a retired reporter and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune where he worked for more than 45 years writing and photographing about the outdoors, prep sports, and smalltown life in Utah. He still writes and lectures on Utah topics.
During his 38-year tenure as an OWAA member, Wharton has served the organization as president (1998), board chairman (1999), a committee volunteer more than 50 times, and local chair of two conferences—Salt Lake (1990) and St. George, Utah (2001). He also played key roles in the formation of OWAA’s Newspaper Section and the move of headquarters from Pennsylvania to Montana.
Wharton has written several books in addition to his award-winning reporting for The Tribune that included a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the series “The Year of the Great Salt Lake” published in 1991.
“I’m honored to take on the secretary role of OWAA, a group I first joined in 1981,” Wharton said. “The organization has meant a great deal to me over the years. I look forward to offering whatever I can to the board and organization.”