It is a real honor to be meeting you here, virtually. I am excited to be joining the Georgia Forestry Commission team and I look forward to the time we can again freely congregate, shake hands and meet in person.
With one of the most challenging years of my career I can recall now behind us, my focus remains optimistic and hopeful – confident that brighter days are ahead. I am grateful to Governor Brian Kemp, GFC Chairman Larry Spillers and the Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to serve as State Forester and Director of the Georgia Forestry Commission. Thank you also to the GFC employees who served during the search process, and to all of the employees who kept the agency functioning with efficiency and determination through the unforeseen challenges of 2020. Your service and leadership are hallmarks of this agency. To serve as Director, to lead the more than 550 dedicated men and women who work to ensure Georgia’s forests are protected and healthy, is a calling I am honored and eager to answer.
Stepping into my new role is a lot like “coming home” for me. I served the GFC as a field forester many years ago, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a forestry degree. In the years that followed, I’ve held various positions in private industry and public service, each of which have contributed to my passion for forestry and for servant leadership.
This is an especially notable time to be transitioning from one year to the next. Twenty-twenty-one marks an important milestone for our agency. We are celebrating 100 years of serving the state. During this centennial year we will be proudly reminiscing about the formidable events and individuals who have shaped the agency’s first century. And we’ll be stepping toward the future, by embracing new technology, methods and efficiencies, as we build on the expertise and experience gained in the past.
Protecting and conserving Georgia’s forest resources through leadership, service and education are the core principles upon which the agency has achieved great success in years gone by, and for which it must always stand. These are the principles to which I will be devoted as Director and State Forester. I’m convinced our best days are ahead. Together, let’s do all we can every day to protect and manage Georgia’s greatest natural resource – its forests!
Director & State Forester
January 19, 2021