Season 5 | Professionals of Color in Forestry and Natural Resources | Episode 8

#75 | Do your best; the rest falls on me

August 1, 2018 | Ron Smith

Ron Smith is a forester, teacher, pastor and leader, currently serving as Director of Forestry and Natural Resources for Tuskegee University. Prior to this, Ron had a distinguished 30+ year career with the US Forest Service, including Forester, District Ranger, and Administration Staff Officer to name a few positions. His professional preparation includes a BS in Forest Management Science from Colorado State University. On today’s show, Ron shares his extensive forestry experience guiding and leading young students in the field of forestry, promoting more diversity in forestry and natural resources, and some rewarding experiences he had while in the Forest Service and beyond. As a manager, Ron would say to his direct reports, “Do your best; the rest falls on me.” [Ron is shown here on the continental divide in Rocky Mountain National Park.]

Key Takeaways:

[:55] A message from Leadership Nature.

[1:35] A quick intro about Ron’s background.

[3:05] How did Ron get into natural resources?

[8:45] During 30 years, what kinds of things did Ron do for the Forest Service?

[11:35] What was Ron’s first leadership position like?

[16:35] People might see the environmental groups as a negative aspect of the job, but Ron believes since they’re members of the public, they should still be treated with respect.

[19:15] How can you ‘posture’ yourself effectively as a public servant?

[28:15] What’s been the most fun or challenging part of Ron’s career so far?

[36:00] How can the forestry profession be more welcoming for people of color?

[44:30] Do people of color see this profession — this line of outdoor work — negatively?

[51:55] Ron recommends a couple of must-read books!

Mentioned in This Episode:
The Greening of America, by Charles A. Reich
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X
Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler
Test of Faith, the movie
How to Contact Ron: rsmith@tuskegee.edu


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