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TU Citizen: Wade Wootan


Wade Wootan

"My technical title is Director of Global Operations. I do agreements, there's a legal piece. But then there's the operational, the logistics, the planning, the travel health and safety. It's holistic. Somebody approaches me with an idea, like, "I want to do this here." - they have these awesome ideas - and I work with them to facilitate it.

Ecuador, we created a field station there. Back in 2018, the science and engineering head faculty member, Ron, was like, "Hey, I got federal funding for this. We want to buy land in Ecuador.” I'm like, "Do you trust - I mean, really trust - somebody locally?" And he's like, "Yeah." He's worked for decades with local Ecuadorians, their indigenous population. And I'm like, "Well, we're going to help them create a legal entity. They're going to be the conduit and they're going to buy the land." That was really hard to put together. I had a full head of hair then.

So we structured that, working hand-in-hand with the locals. It started off as bird habitat conservation, but it's grown into forest preservation and reforestation. [The station is in] one of the most biodiverse locations on the planet.

Science and Engineering was the school behind it [initially], but now there are four other Tulane schools and Freeman is about ready to join in the dance as well. So it's truly interdisciplinary, which is exactly what we’re trying to do. You’ll have faculty rotating through, undergrads rotating through, graduate students, postdocs rotating through, and then other non-Tulane equivalents.

Preservation, reforestation, sustainability... there's a lot that science can learn from it. And I'm just, you know, on the business side, the logistics side, the planning side, just trying to facilitate. But it's rewarding. You feel like you're impactful."


---Director of Global Operations, Tulane Global