Decisionmakers: Tom Van Berkem | SierraSun.com

Decisionmakers: Tom Van Berkem

Greyson Howard/Sierra Sun
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Moving back and forth across the country with business, Tom Van Berkem has always kept ties to the Truckee-Tahoe area dating back to 1973.

Three years into retirement, Van Berkem said he finds himself at his Northstar home more and more, but by getting involved in the community, hasn’t slowed down at all.

“I’ve been fortunate in business and now I have the ability to give back,” Van Berkem said, who sits on both the Airport Community Advisory Team and the Truckee Donner Land Trust Board.

The two positions may seem incongruous, but he said with both he can work towards one of his main goals ” the preservation of open space.

“The airport can be a major player in the preservation of open space,” Van Berkem said. “Look at the acquisition of Waddle Ranch.”

As one of the non-pilot members of the advisory team, and as a resident of Northstar, noise issues are also important to Van Berkem, he said.

“The airport is important to the community, but at the same time living in Northstar I had workers who had to duck while working on my roof when a jet went over,” Van Berkem said. “That doesn’t mean we should close the airport or ban jets, it means we should look for a solution where everybody is a winner.”

But for both the land trust and the airport, projects will become progressively harder, he said.

“The low-hanging fruit has been picked, now we are entering a period where noise abatement will become more complex,” Van Berkem said.

” Greyson Howard Sierra Sun