Tom O’Grady sailed as a deck worker on an ore carrier on the Great Lakes aboard a sister-ship of the fated Edmund Fitzgerald, surveyed for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, launched the first comprehensive curbside recycling program in the state of Ohio and has been promoting waste reduction and sustainable economy for thirty years. Tom has also been an instructor of Observational Astronomy in the evenings at Ohio University for thirty years. He has spent a good deal of the past twenty-five years as a student of Ohio history researching its geography and settlement, the moundbuilders, Ohio canals, and several of its interesting characters and their stories.
Tom’s interest in history was awakened by working to clean up roadways and streams and stumbled into the remnants of the Hocking Valley Canal while running the Athens County Recycling and Litter Control program. He also had the unique experience of living at the Athens Asylum during his college years which gives him a valuable perspective on one of the biggest historical sites in Southeastern Ohio.
Tom served as a board member for the History Center between 1999 and 2014. He served as Executive Director from 2014 to 2019, and he is looking forward to continuing to be a leading advocate for local history and the History Center.