Gregory Tillson began his Extension Service career as a student doing work-study research with Extension on the topic of land use planning. In 1970 OSU hired him as an Extension Agent-At-Large and, one year later, Tillson moved to Bend with his family to work with Deschutes, Crook, and Jefferson Counties as the Area Agent in the Concentrated Efforts Program.
In 1974 Tillson transferred to Marion County, moving to Salem, as a Tri-County Agent to work in community development and land use planning efforts for Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties. While in this position, Tillson became the Oregon state coordinator of the Kellogg Foundation-funded Family Community Leadership (FCL) Program and was later appointed Extension Volunteer Management Specialist. The FCL Program was instrumental in training communities on ways to become involved with local government and land-use decisions. Tillson retired from Extension in 2004.
Born near Alsea, Oregon in 1945, Tillson grew up in Corvallis, joining the National Guard in 1964. He served for six years, during which he studied at OSU, earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from OSU in 1970. He went on to earn his Master in Resource Geography from OSU in 1978.