Elson served for 12 years as President and CEO of the Fort Vancouver National Trust. Prior to that he spent 19 years as President of the Clark College Foundation. In both capacities Elson had overall responsibility for generating financial support including extensive involvement in a variety of property transactions. Under his leadership, assets of the Clark College Foundation increased from approximately $1 million to a benchmark of $63 million, ranking it nationally at the top of community college foundations. Several major property acquisitions were incorporated in this asset growth. During his tenure at the Trust, the organization executed a master lease with the City of Vancouver to manage and renovate approximately 40 former US Army officer homes.