Plenary Speakers


Jeffrey Stringer, CF, Chairman, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Kentucky

Jeffrey W. Stringer, CF, is endowed professor and chair of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky. He has worked for over 40 years in research and with the Cooperative Extension Service in hardwood silviculture and forest operations, producing over 200 publications and resources on hardwood regeneration and growth, best management practices, and forest operations. His Extension work has focused on providing solutions to address problems in the management and use of hardwood resources. He has worked nationally in forest certification and is Director of the Center for Forest and Wood Certification. His work contributed directly to the establishment of the White Oak Initiative where he serves on the Initiative’s Steering and Planning Committees.


Harald (Jordy) Jordahl, Midwest Conservation Director, Interim Director, White Oak Initiative, American Forest Foundation

Harald (Jordy) Jordahl is Midwest Conservation Director & interim Director of the White Oak Initiative for the American Forest Foundation. Prior to this position, Jordy worked on resource policy issues with state, local, federal and tribal governments while serving in legislative, executive, administrative and advocacy positions in Wisconsin.  His immediate past project was Director of America’s Watershed Initiative where he led a diverse coalition of businesses, agencies and organizations committed to developing collaborative solutions to challenges facing water and land resources throughout the 31-state Mississippi River watershed. Jordy is a tree farmer and actively manages his family’s properties in Wisconsin for wildlife, recreation, timber production, and water quality.


Dan Dey, CF, Research Forester, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service

Dan Dey is a Research Forester for the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, located in Columbia, MO. He is also Project Leader of a research unit that studies the ecology and sustainable management of Central Hardwood Forest ecosystems. Dan’s personal research emphasis is the silviculture of eastern forests. He received his Ph.D. in 1991 from the University of Missouri, and since then has worked as a research forester for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station. Before becoming a scientist, Dan worked as a forester on the Ketchikan Ranger District, Tongass National Forest and the Red River Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest.


John Lhotka, Associate Professor of Silviculture, University of Kentucky

John Lhotka received B.S. and M.S. forestry degrees from Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in silviculture from Auburn University and was a Forester at the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station before joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 2007. There he has built a silvicultural research program focused on 1) regeneration of oak-dominated forests, 2) modeling forest structure, growth, and mortality, 3) development of gap-based silvicultural systems, and 4) forest restoration following surface mining disturbance. John also instructs silviculture and integrated forest resource management in the University’s accredited forestry B.S. program. John has served the profession throughout his career and is currently chair of the Society of American Foresters’ Committee on Accreditation.




Bob Russell, Manager Wood Procurement, Brown-Forman

Bob Russell has a B.S. in Forest Management and a Master’s in Business Administration, both from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Bob started his career as a land management forester; progressing into timber and log procurement and then into the hardwood veneer industry before joining Brown-Forman in 2000. Bob manages log procurement for their four stave mills as well as stave and heading procurement from outside producers. These procurement efforts supply both the Brown-Forman and Jack Daniel Cooperages, which are part of the Brown-Forman Global production company. Founded in 1870, Brown-Forman is one of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies and sells its brands in more than 160 countries.

Kathryn Fernholz, President/CEO, Dovetail Partners

Kathryn (Katie) Fernholz is the President/CEO of Dovetail Partners, a non-profit environmental think-tank based in Minneapolis, MN. Katie is a forester by training and has worked on development and forest management issues in a range of roles. She has been a leader within the forestry community through her service as Chair of the Minnesota Society of American Foresters and her appointment to the Minnesota Forest Resources Council. She is currently a board member for the North American Forest Partnership, the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, and the American Forest Foundation. Katie has a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Minnesota, College of Natural Resources.




Rita Hite, Executive Vice President of Woodlands and Policy, American Forest Foundation

Rita Hite leads the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition, co-chairs the Forest Climate Working Group, and is engaged in green building and wood products, tax, and regulatory issues impacting family forest owners. She also oversees AFF’s programs focused on reaching and engaging woodland owners in forest management and conservation, including the American Tree Farm System. Prior to joining the Foundation, Rita worked on Capitol Hill for the House Committee on Agriculture. Rita also served as Policy Director for the Society of American Foresters, helping to shape public and private lands bills, leading Coalitions on wildfire funding, farm bill, and forest restoration, and engaging the Society’s grassroots in advocacy around forests.


Marcus Kauffman, Biomass Resource Specialist, Oregon Department of Forestry

Marcus Kauffman serves as the Biomass Resource Specialist for the Oregon Department of Forestry. In this position he aims to create, enhance, and sustain viable markets for the by-products of forest management and forest products manufacturing. Marcus provides multi-media content, technical assistance, project development resources, and biomass supply information to public and private interests across the state. A firm believer in coordinated collective action, he chairs the Council of Western State Foresters’ Forest Utilization Network and the Oregon Statewide Wood Energy Team. He has a keen interest in advancing forest utilization opportunities and deepening its impact on working forests, rural communities, and the forest products industry.

Casey Malmquist, President and CEO, SmartLam

Casey Malmquist is President and CEO of SmartLam, which was founded in 2012. Casey led the SmartLam team from a ground level startup to become a globally recognized producer of CLT products today. He has more than 30 years of experience owning and operating a successful construction and development company. Casey is a knowledge leader in the advancement of mass timber in construction and the environmentally sustainable use of forest products.


Iris B. Montague, Researcher, US Forest Service Northern Research Station and Forest Products Marketing Unit

Iris B. Montague is a Research Forester with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station in Starkville, MS. She received her B.S. (Forestry Management) and MBA (Marketing) from Alabama A&M University and a Ph.D. in Forestry Resources with a concentration in Marketing and Finance from the University of Georgia. She is a member of the Ecological and Economic Sustainability of the Appalachian Forest in an Era of Globalization Unit (NRS-01) and of the Forest Products Marketing Unit at the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin. Since joining the Forest Service, she has researched the linkages between certification and global competitiveness in the Appalachian hardwood industry, examined the hardwood log distribution chain and the role of log brokers, and studied the use of social media as a marketing tool among hardwood products manufacturers



Sam Cook, Executive Director of Forest Assets, North Carolina State College of Natural Resources

Sam Cook is Executive Director of Forest Assets for the NC State College of Natural Resources and VP for the Natural Resources Foundation Board. Formerly Sam was Director of Forestry for the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation in the Lowcountry (Charleston) of South Carolina. A registered forester in both North and South Carolina, he has maintained his own consulting forestry business since 2007. Earlier in his career Sam worked for International Paper Company’s Forest Resources Division, Duke Energy, and the USDA Forest Service. Sam has an A.S. in Forestry from Tuskegee University, a B.S. in Forest Management from NC State University, and a long and distinguished history of professional and community service.


Mindy Crandall, Assistant Professor, Forest Landscape Management and Economics, University of Maine

Mindy Crandall grew up in the Oregon Coast range, where her time spent among the trees generated a lifelong love of forests and forestry. She has an Associate’s degree in Native American Studies from Salish Kootenai College along with degrees in forest management, resource economics, and applied economics in forestry from Oregon State University. Her research is focused on forest management, the forest products industry, and rural resource dependent communities. As a faculty member in the School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine, she’s been involved in efforts to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations in natural resource fields and is a founding member of UMaine’s SWIFT, Supporting Women in Forestry Today.



Bill Elmendorf, Joseph Ibberson Professor of Community Forestry, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Penn State

Bill Elmendorf teaches community forest management and human dimensions of natural resources at Penn State. He provides leadership for the Pennsylvania Extension Urban Forestry Program that provides education and technical assistance to municipalities, agencies, and non-profits. Because of his work with large and small places, Bill is familiar with many natural resource issues including ethnic preferences and needs, community decision making, conflicting uses, land conversion, funding and staffing struggles, and innovative solutions. Bill is a current member of the SAF Educational Policy Review Committee, an Associate Editor of Economic and Social Urban Forestry for the journal Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, and Past President of the International Society of Arboriculture Penn-Del Chapter. He is active in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Inclusion Council.

Jennifer Harrington, Native American Natural Resource Program Coordinator, W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana

Jennifer Harrington is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribe of North Dakota. Growing up in the Missoula valley, Jen made early connections with natural world, its boundless beauty and the impacts that mining and mills have had on environmental quality. Jen received her B.S. in Resource Conservation at the University of Montana and is currently a graduate student in Resource Conservation and the Director of the Native American Natural Resource Program in the Franke College of Forestry and Conservation. Jen has worked with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes to develop recommendations for meaningful and effective consultation with Native American Tribal Nations involved in the Superfund process and continues to work to protect and restore natural resources for present and future generations through professional and community service.

Kyle Rose, Assistant Professor, Forestry, New Mexico Highlands University

Kyle Rose is an Assistant Professor of Forestry at New Mexico Highlands University, the only Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with an SAF-accredited forestry program. He earned his Master’s degree at Michigan Technological University as part of the Master’s International Program. During the two years he spent with the Peace Corps in Honduras, he assisted with a payments for ecosystem services project and worked closely with students on a dry forest restoration project. Kyle earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University where he studied regeneration silviculture and ecophysiology of Acacia koa in Hawaii.