April 18, 2018
By Tom Davidson
Jim Karels is the Florida State Forester and Director of the Florida Forest Service. Jim is a native of Minnesota and has more than 35 years of experience in wildfire suppression and land management. Also, Jim represents all 50 states on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, Wildland Fire Executive Council, and the National Association of State Foresters’ Fire Committee. On today’s show, Jim talks about Florida’s excellent programs like Operation Outdoor Freedom, how leadership is different at the top of an organization, and so much more!
[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.
[1:40] A quick intro about Jim’s background.
[2:50] How did Jim become interested in forestry?
[4:25] What are some of the benefits of starting out in firefighting?
[5:05] After graduation, what was Jim’s first job like?
[7:05] What was the transition like from having to take directions vs. being the one having to give them?
[10:15] As you move up into leadership positions in forestry, you have to make decisions based off of little to no data. This is a hard transition for a very analytical, data-driven forester.
[11:25] How is leadership different at the State Forester level?
[16:15] What has been the most surprising about the State Forester role so far?
[17:35] Jim discusses the Operation Outdoor Freedom program.
[24:25] When it comes to leadership, what does Jim wish he’d learned sooner?
[27:30] What is Jim learning about the younger generation entering the workforce?
[30:05] Jim offers advice for those young professionals out there!
[32:45] What kind of mentors has Jim had in the past?
[35:05] Where is the forestry profession headed, and what do professionals need to be aware of?
[38:20] Remember: Lead by example. If your example is not good, then your leadership won’t be either.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Operation Outdoor Freedom: Freshfromflorida.com
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer