Articles


State Foresters


S4|E20: Ken Pimlott – You Can’t be Afraid to Act

Chief Ken Pimlott is the Director of CAL FIRE and State Forester of California. Ken began his career as a reserve firefighter with the Contra Costa Fire Protection District and has served in many capacities on his way to becoming Director. For example, prior to his current role, Ken was Deputy Director of Fire Protection […]

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S4|E19: Scott Phillips – Work Hard at Work Worth Doing

Scott Phillips is the State Forester for the South Carolina Forestry Commission where he brings expertise in forestry, wildlife, and business management. As agency head, Scott provides oversight for all functions of the agency and works with a nine-member board to set agency policy and direction. After earning his BS in forest resources from the […]

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S4|E18: Brian Cottam – “The work we do is ego-system management, not eco-system management”

Brian Cottam is the Utah State Forester and Director of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. He is also responsible for wildfire management on state and private lands and oversees Utah’s sovereign lands. Brian brings a diverse background and wide experience to the role, including government relations, state and local planning, economic […]

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S4|E17: Tom Boggus – “I don’t believe in leadership by title; I believe in leadership by influence”

Tom Boggus is the State Forester of Texas and the Director of Texas A&M Forest Service. He has worked for the State of Texas since 1980, becoming Interim Director in 2008 and being officially appointed State Forester in 2010. One of the events during this time was when Tom led the response team during the […]

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S4|E16: Larry Kotchman – “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”

Larry Kotchman has been the State Forester of North Dakota for the last 31 years; he is currently the longest active serving State Forester. In this role, Larry is responsible for the administration of the North Dakota Forest Service, managing the agency’s $15 million budget, and directing statewide forestry services through three leadership teams. On […]

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S4|E14: Barry Cook – “I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know”

Barry Cook is the Director and State Forester of West Virginia, a military veteran, and a seasoned forester with a diverse background. He earned his BS degree in Forest Management from West Virginia University and an Executive MBA from Duke University. Barry began his career as a logging superintendent for Weyerhaeuser, then became a procurement […]

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S4|E13: Jim Karels – “Not many of our people believe in status quo”

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 […]

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S4|E12: Peter Church – “If you aren’t getting flak, you’re not over the target”

Peter Church is the Director of Forest Stewardship for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, where he oversees the agency’s statewide forest conservation program and the implementation of a new strategic direction for the Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry. Peter has over 29 years of experience in a variety of positions, including […]

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S4|E9: Larry Biles – “Leadership is related to ambition, and ambition is born”

State Forester of Kansas Larry Biles has a BS in Forestry from the University of Missouri and an MS in Ornamental Horticulture from Kansas State University. During his career, Larry has held diverse roles in many parts of the profession, including positions with state agencies, the US Forest Service, consulting forestry, and national extension forestry […]

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S4|E6: Joe Fox – Plan your work and work your plan

Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox leads the Arkansas Forestry Commission in a position he has held since 2012. Joe is a native of Arkansas and worked a family-owned lumber business for over 20 years at one point. He is also the former President of the Arkansas Forestry Association and former Chair of the Arkansas Forestry […]

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S4|E5: Rick Oates – You can’t make decisions in a vacuum

In this episode, you’ll meet Rick Oates, who was appointed the State Forester of Alabama in 2017. In his role, Rick leads the Alabama Forestry Commission, which protects and sustains Alabama’s 23 million acres of forest land and helps educate the public about the importance of forestry to the environment and the economy of the […]

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S4|E3: George Geissler – I like folks that don’t think like me!

George Geissler is the State Forester of Oklahoma, Director of the Oklahoma Forestry Services Division, veteran fire fighter, and long time member and leader in the Society of American Forester. In addition to his unusual pathway into forestry and his diverse career in the profession, George received his Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management […]

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S3|E9: Heather Slayton – Your actions will delineate and define you; people remember how you act and react

Heather Slayton is a forester for the Tennessee Division of Forestry, has a B.S. in Forestry from Virginia Tech, and is currently working on her Master’s at the University of Tennessee. After graduating from Tech, Heather worked as a forester in Virginia and North Carolina before moving to Tennessee. Right now, Heather works as the […]

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S1|E7: Bill Crapser – “You can’t be successful if everyone hates you. At the same time, you can’t be everybody’s friend.”

Bill Crapser is currently the State Forester for the Wyoming State Forestry Division and president of the National Association of State Foresters. Bill is a well-accomplished forester who admits that being the boss isn’t always easy. He says that it is a delicate balance between respecting others and making those tough decisions. Bill admits that […]

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S1|E4 – Bettina Ring – “As a Leader, it’s important to remove barriers and limitations for your team”

At the time of this interview, Bettina Ring was the State Forester for the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, she has since become Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth. Bettina has a long history in the conservation and forestry sectors. In this week’s episode, Bettina offers advice to forestry and natural resource students who […]

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S1|E3 – Henry E. (Gene) Kodama – “Learn how to be a sponge, and listen more than you speak”

Gene Kodama is the South Carolina State Forester with decades of leadership wisdom to share. Gene was fortunate enough to have some great mentors during the first few years of his professional career and a Father who made a lifelong impression on him (and now us). In this episode he shares the wisdom he has […]

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