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Gary Larson
Gary Larson

Senior Fellow, Center for Public Service

Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Administration




Gary is an adjunct Professor of Public Administration at Portland State University Hatfield School of Government and Lanzhou University School of Management, China. Between the two universities, he has taught strategic organizational leadership, public policy, sustainable development, and research design to undergraduate, MPA, MBA, and PhD students. He is a co-lead, along with Dr. Douglas Morgan, of the Hatfield School of Government's partnership with Lanzhou University School of Management, which includes teaching, research, and publication.

Gary's research interests are in organizational leadership, government performance management, public administration, public policy, sustainable development, and natural resources. His teaching focus for practitioners is to empower them to make a difference that matters in their organizations and for academics to empower them to make a difference in the real world. His students all report his classes as being among the most challenging but also personally very rewarding.

Gary recently retired from the position of Forest Supervisor of Mt. Hood National Forest, where he served for fifteen years. He has held a variety of national natural resource leadership positions over a 35 year career including Chief of Staff for the Department of Agriculture Undersecretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Senior Policy Advisor for President Clinton’s Council for Sustainable Development, and Technical and Domestic Policy Advisor to the State Department while serving as lead U.S. negotiator for forest issues at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He was also International Agreements Officer and head of strategic planning for U.S. Forest Service International Forestry. He is currently a board member of the World Famous Mountains Association -- which he helped found -- and he is in the process of helping start the World Famous Mountains Research Institute at Jiujiang University in China. In addition, Gary does consulting through his own company, Strategic Business Strategies Inc.

He holds a BS from Colorado State University (1975) with emphasis in watershed sciences, hydrology, climatology, mathematics, and computer modeling. He received his MBA from National University in San Diego in 1981, specializing in executive leadership, and obtained his PhD from PSU in 2008 in Public Administration and Policy with an emphasis on leadership and sustainable development.