Tom Alberg was a humble visionary whose recent death is a loss for the region.
He will be remembered not only for his prescient investments in a fledgling Amazon and other tech-sector innovators, but for his abiding commitment to ensuring Seattle, and all cities, are thriving places to live for all.
Alberg’s career successes are well known, but equally impactful was his passion for civic life and deep interest in the foundations of successful communities. He lived these values through varied endeavors, converting his family farm into a center for conservation and sustainability, spearheading the growth of the University of Washington Allen School of Computer Science and engaging business leaders through Challenge Seattle.
His deep and abiding interest in the public good extended beyond his own community. Alberg advocated for expanding tech investments beyond Silicon Valley and coastal population hubs, and wanted to be sure other cities learned from the Emerald City’s experience, said Greg Shaw, founder of Clyde Hill Publishing and senior director at Microsoft, who helped the venture capitalist write a book on the subject.
“He came from a generation of Seattle where natural resources — fishing, lumber, the early days of aviation, the maritime industry — generated a lot of jobs, and then we lost everything,” said Shaw. “I think his love of the city drove him to say, ‘OK, we’ve got another shot at this with this tech boom. How do we share the lessons of this boom and bust and then boom again?’ “
Alberg’s altruism, vision and dedication have left an indelible mark on the region. Now it’s up to a new generation of leaders to carry on this important work.