One of Maine’s most unique, most neighborly traditions is that landowners have for centuries allowed people onto their land to hunt, fish, hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors. When Project LandShare was started in 1989 by MFPC and the Maine TREE Foundation, it was an effort by the owners of forestland in Maine to make sure that tradition continued. Those were challenging times for Maine’s forest landowners — both large and small. The most recent spruce budworm epidemic had just run its course, leading to the death of millions of spruce and fir trees through the state, and the Maine Forest Practices Act was about to take effect, an effort to ensure forest management was based in science and protected the public interest.
The SFI Annual Conference always brings together thought leaders and influencers, including forest sector representatives, conservation and community partners, and Indigenous leaders as well as some of the most engaged forest product customers in North America. The 2018 conference, Oct. 16-18 at Westminster, Colorado, focused on an important theme: When it comes to providing supply chain assurances, producing conservation outcomes, and supporting education and community engagement – Forests are the Answer.
“One of the accomplishments for SFI that stood out for me is that the program has grown to 320 million acres in the U.S. and Canada,” said Pat Sirois, Maine SIC coordinator. “That’s an additional 40 million in the last year. At the conference, we heard the term “scale” used often in relation to what can be accomplished with 320 million acres for a variety of issues from threatened habitats to climate change. Those discussions brought interests from all over North America, Europe and Scandinavia. You got the sense that opportunities for the SFI seem limitless.”
Delivering the keynote address was Dan Lambe, president, Arbor Day Foundation, who highlighted the creative and thoughtful pathways the Arbor Day Foundation and SFI are pursuing. Vicki Christiansen, newly appointed chief of the U.S. Forest Service participated in the “Inspiring Women Leaders in Sustainability” panel, which also included Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry; Dana Collins, Executive Director, Canadian Institute of Forestry; Lisa Allen, State Forester, Missouri Department of Conservation, and Laura Schweitzer, Executive Director, Council of Western State Foresters/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition. The panel also discussed responsible forest management and forest health.
Also at the conference, four awards were announced that that recognize leadership in diversity, conservation, innovation, and community engagement.
This year’s winner of the SFI Implementation Committee Achievement Award (which SIC Maine won last year for the fourth time) went to the South Carolina SFI Implementation Committee which was selected for its ability to build strong partnerships in ways that improve sustainable forestry and promote the SFI Program.
“SFI Implementation Committees do such good work and to be recognized among our peers is really special. The whole South Carolina committee deserves credit because recognition like this always comes down to excellent teamwork,” said Bart Copeland, Chair of the South Carolina SFI Implementation Committee and the Manager of Procurement and Certification Standards at Collum’s Lumber Products.
The South Carolina committee is working with Clemson University to launch a new Center for Excellence in Forestry Research. The committee is also fully supporting a visiting scholar fellowship in applied forestry. They are collaborating with the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation to create a cadre of landowner leaders to encourage resolution of heirs’ property issues. On the youth education front, the committee has joined multiple partners to develop a sustainable forestry exhibit at a nature center and the committee is also building on its partnership with South Carolina Tree Farm and Project Learning Tree, an initiative of SFI. Read more.
- The SFI President’s Award went to Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and an SFI board member, who was recognized for “her commitment to encouraging diversity in the forest sector and for her leadership in advancing sustainable forestry. As a senior executive, Ring inspires other women to take on leadership roles. She is well known for promoting diversity in the forest sector. Through the National Association of State Foresters and SFI, Ring has championed women for years.” Read more.
- The SFI Leadership in Conservation Award went to Brian J. Kernohan, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of Policy at Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), in recognition of his “strong leadership and collaboration skills can be seen in several research projects that are part of the SFI Conservation Impact Project and for his role on the SFI Conservation Impact Sounding Board. Read more.
- The Dr. Sharon Haines Memorial Award for Innovation and Leadership in Sustainability went to Jay Jensen, Director, Southern Regional Office, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) because he “embodies the collaborative and innovative spirit that Sharon brought to her life’s work. Throughout his career, Jay has been known for working in close cooperation with outside stakeholders to foster relationships built to achieve sustainability goals.” Read more.
By Chris Fife, Weyerhaeuser
As Mainebiz recently reported, there is a serious shortage of truck drivers. Do you know someone with log trucking expertise and a desire to help the next generation of drivers get a start? Tri-County Technical Center (TCTC) in Dexter has a job for them.
Thanks to the generous support of MFPC members, including Pallet One, Pleasant River Lumber and Seven Islands, and a $20,000 grant from the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, TCTC is moving ahead with the plan to add log truck and loader training to its Commercial Driver’s License program (CDL training proposal). However, about $3,500 in donations are still needed. TCTC also is planning to hire a Logging Training-Behind-the-Wheel Instructor, said CDL instructor Vickki Kimball said. (Logging Instructor job posting.)
TCTC will build on its highly successful CDL Training Program adding log truck driving and loading skills. The program will start in November with a maximum of 10 students who will work with the trainer to learn woods trucking and loading of timber for transport. Safety in all aspects of this training is paramount. Students will learn and will strictly adhere to safe practices and OSHA regulations. The program is also looking to incorporate Certified Logging Professional training. The plan will create a true career pathway.
Norman Beckwith made a long successful career trucking for Comstock Woodlands. With more than 40 years of trucking under his belt, he knows a few things about how to get logs from the woods to the mill and he has more than a few stories to share. As part of the roll out of the log truck driver training, Norm visited the CDL classes and talked with the students about the challenges and joys of driving log trucks. This is a key part of selecting students for the program. After hearing from Norm, students expressed excitement about the opportunity to drive for the forest industry.
If you would like to support the program you can send a donation directly to Maine School Administrative District 46, where the Tri County Technical Center (TCTC) is located. Checks should be made out to MSAD #46 C/O TCTC and mailed to Maine School Administrative District 46, 175 Fern Road, Suite 1, Dexter, ME 04930. The Tax Id # is 01-0275044.
We finished the last of five candidates breakfasts on October 10 in Calais and I’m happy to say we had an excellent turnout — about 150 total — of candidates and members. These breakfasts are valuable because they bring our members together with candidates who care enough about our industry to show up — some driving many miles — and listen.
It also helps the Council’s legislative efforts to get to know new candidates and make contact with those who have already served in the Legislature. Some will cast important votes on industry issues in the coming legislative session, but even those who don’t win election are likely to remain active and engaged in their towns. They need to know what’s happening in our $8.5 billion industry, especially since we hope to grow it to $12 billion by 2025.
On an MFPC note, one participant at the Scarborough breakfast was both a candidate and a member! Greg Foster, who operates Timber State G forestry consulting service with his father is a House candidate in District 66, which includes most of Raymond, along with parts of Casco and Poland. Greg follows in the footsteps of his dad, Clif, who represented District 41 in the 118th, 119th, 120th Maine legislatures and is still an MFPC Board member.
THANKS TO OUR BREAKFAST SPONSORS!
- Sept. 26, Old Town, sponsored by Huber Resources, Farm Credit East and BBC Land Inc.
- Sept. 27, Caribou, sponsored by Huber Engineered Wood, Farm Credit East and Seven Islands.
- Oct. 3, Scarborough, sponsored by Farm Credit East and Weyerhaeuser.
- Oct. 9, Farmington, sponsored by Stratton Lumber, American Forest Management and Farm Credit East.
- Oct. 10, Calais, sponsored by Farm Credit East and Woodland Pulp.
MFPC, Maine Woodland Owners, and the PLC appreciated the opportunity to talk with candidates across the state about some of the issues that are most important to the forest products community.
In general, the candidates had a very positive response as we explained how the industry and its partners such as the Maine Development Foundation, the University of Maine and Biobased Maine, have been working on the FOR/Maine project and report. They were excited to hear about the opportunities ahead and wanted to help us meet the challenges we face.
“I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to see this happening,” said Ann Peoples of Westbrook, a candidate in House District 35.
I think everyone wants to help our industry and many times we were asked what legislators could do. That gave us opportunities to explain important issues they were likely to face if elected.
I often didn’t have to say a word because our members jumped in to explain, for example, how important the Tree Growth Tax Program is to our industry.
“The Tree Growth tax law is absolutely critical to Southern Maine,” said Terry Walters, an MFPC board member, told candidates at the Scarborough breakfast. “You’ve got to protect that program and landowners get discouraged if you keep changing it.”We also talked about the need to lower energy costs and for state tax incentives to encourage existing businesses to expand and businesses from outside the state to invest here, especially in rural communities. Another prominent topic was workforce development. Candidates know, as we do, that a serious state effort will be needed to supply workers for us and for other industries.
Thanks to our generous sponsors, we were able to provide breakfast for both candidates and members. I was especially heartened by the informal discussions between members and candidates before, during and after each breakfast. I am always proud to say that our members are the best spokespersons for Maine’s forest products industry.
By Hannah Stevens, Seven Islands
Sarah Medina, Seven Islands land use director, and I attended the October 10 meeting in Caribou where the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) considered revising the proposed rule changes in the Adjacency principle, establishing a new comment deadline, and holding an additional public hearing later this winter.
The potential for rezoning around lakes/ponds: The current “1 mile rule” would be replaced with a policy that limits waterfront subdivisions to primary and secondary locations (in the new adjacency proposal) or on an already developed lake or pond. Outside of the primary and secondary locations, this would include class 3, 4, or 5 lakes and about 2 percent of the class 7 lakes. (More information)
The class 7 lakes would have to meet three criteria in order to be considered (must meet all three):
- Already developed with at least 5 dwellings near the shoreline;
- Already developed with at least 1 dwelling per ½ mile of shoreline;
- Already developed with at least 1 dwelling per 50 acres of lake surface area. For landowners on class 7 lakes who are interested in subdivision development, opportunities for potential rezoning would be rather limited.
A proposed change to “primary location” definition: Primary location distance from edge of a rural hub has been changed from 10 miles to 7 miles and distance from public road changed from 2 miles to 1 mile. Secondary location remains the same (< 5 miles from a public road, and in a minor civil division that shares a boundary with a retail hub), but some minor civil divisions have asked to be removed from the list, which, in turn, would reduce primary and secondary locations based on those hubs.
Discussion of resource-dependent subdistricts (D-RD): These would allow natural resource extraction and processing facilities. Outside of the primary/secondary districts, “once a D-RD subdistrict is no longer used for the land use for which it was created, the subdistrict shall automatically revert to the prior subdistrict(s), unless otherwise rezoned in conformance with 12 M.R.S. §685-A(8-A) and the Commission’s rules.” So, if a business moves out (not just a change of ownership), the zoning reverts unless the same type of business is replacing it. If it’s a different type of business, a change of use permit as well as a possible change of zoning will be needed.
Stream Smart crossings: The commissioners wanted to hear about such crossings as they may pertain to subdivision development, etc. They are wondering whether they should take crossing info into account when permitting. Forest management roads are under MFS jurisdiction, not LUPC.
Another rulemaking package will be prepared for LUPC’s next meeting, Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. at Jeff’s Catering, 15 Littlefield Way, Brewer.
- Ozone Transport Region petition: At the end of September, the EPA acknowledged receipt of DEP’s petition to remove portions of Maine from the Ozone Transport Region (OTR ) in a letter to Gov. LePage. “Please know that we will expeditiously consider Maine’s section l 76(a)(2) petition. The EPA intends to undertake a notice-and-comment rulemaking to address the petition and re-evaluate the inclusion of this portion of Maine in the Ozone Transport Region. The next step will be for EPA to publish the proposal in the Federal Register for at least a 30-day comment (possibly 60 days) period. EPA would then publish its final decision in the Federal Register. “Of course, one concern is that a new State Administration could withdraw the petition from EPA,” Dixon Pike, an attorney at Pierce Atwood, wrote in an email this week. “It has not been an issue of the campaigns, but it’s a very real possibility that certain candidates would bend to certain of their constituent groups (i.e., environmental advocacy groups) who oppose the petition.” More information.
- CMP transmission line/view shed: LUPC and DEP are reviewing the application filed by CMP to build a transmission line in western Maine to deliver 1200 mw of hydropower from Quebec under a contract with Massachusetts utilities that was mandated by the Massachusetts Legislature. Environmental groups and citizens have raised concerns about impacts on “wilderness” scenic views, forest habitats, and tourism. We are monitoring these proceedings as they will set precedent for zoning and permitting development in Maine working forest. The hearings are to be scheduled for later this fall. — Bill Ferdinand. More information. See map below.
- Greenhouse gas petition: The comment period was extended until July 30, 2018, so the department has until Nov. 30 to review the comments. It’s unlikely there will be any action until after that date. — Jeff Crawford, DEP State Implementation Plan and Clean Air Act, 287-7647. More information.
FOR/Maine (Forest Opportunity Roadmap), a broad coalition working to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract capital investments, and develop greater economic prosperity for communities impacted by recent mill closures, is pleased to announce an action plan to grow Maine’s forest economy from the current $8.5 billion (annual) to $12 billion by 2025. This growth would position the state to compete in and take advantage of substantial global market opportunities.
The Roadmap Action Plan outlines how the industry will achieve the projected 40 percent growth, much of it coming from new markets for the state. The sector will build on traditional strengths like saw logs and paper, and add new layers of innovative products – including eco-friendly chemicals, bio-degradable plastics, and medical and technical products made from nanocellulose – many of which can be made from the residuals of other wood manufacturing processes.
The Roadmap is the culmination of two years of coordinated research and strategy development, informed by extensive data, global benchmarking, and industry expertise. It reveals Maine’s competitiveness in new global markets, and outlines five goals and 17 matched strategies to realize the opportunity, and build a more diverse $12 billion forest economy annually:
Goal #1: Sustain and grow Maine’s existing and emerging forest products economy, reaching $12 Billion in economic impact by 2025. This includes attracting investment in the forest products industry, marketing Maine’s bioeconomy to national and global audiences, and accelerating innovation in forest products and applications to leverage Maine’s leadership position within the industry.
Goal #2: Manage the wood resource using sustainable and responsible forest management practices. This is informed by accurate and current data about Maine’s forests.
Goal #3: Prepare workforce for the future of the forest products economy. This entails making sure that current workers have the skills they need, and that Maine is positioned to attract and prepare the necessary workforce for emerging products and new opportunities.
Goal #4: Increase prosperity in Maine forest economy communities, especially those in rural Maine, including those affected by mill closures. This involves coordinated efforts across local, regional, state, and federal entities to attract capital investment.
Goal #5: Organize the forest products industry with committed public sector partners, including the University of Maine, to implement the vision and goals. This requires sustained, collaborative and coordinated effort across local, regional, state and federal entities.
The benefits of a strong forest products sector extend far beyond the companies and workers directly in the industry. Indeed, 1 of every 24 jobs in Maine and estimated $1 out of every $20 of Maine GDP come from the forest industry. In addition to economic benefits, working forests provide environmental benefits including carbon sequestration, filtration of the water supply, and habitat for wildlife, as well as recreation and quality of life for Mainers and tourists.
The opportunity to create the next great era of Maine forestry is available, but to seize this economic growth for Maine, we must all work together to create the conditions to attract new investment here. This will include ongoing coordination and cooperation between industry, state and federal government, and forest communities, supported by the Maine public and non-profits.
For more information, and to read the full Roadmap report, please visit: www.formaine.org. You can also follow us at: www.facebook.com/formaine.
FOR/Maine Program Director
Maine Development Foundation | 295 Water St., Ste. 5 Augusta | ME 04330
O: 207-626-3116 | www.mdf.org
After a roller-coaster period of declines, 2018 seems like a year of recovery. Investments in our remaining pulp and paper mills are strong as they diversify their production lines. Markets for lumber and building products also are doing well and there is significant activity surrounding emerging technologies that could fit in Maine. However, there are still regions where markets are poor and more should be done to attract investments.
The Council has made considerable investment in the FOR/MAINE strategic planning process, with many members involved in this broad-based effort. Consultants have provided us with a better idea of where we fit in the global economy. We know where and what species of wood we need to focus on, and we’re developing recommendations for the coming administration that are an important part of implementing the plan. We think we can grow Maine’s forest industry from $8.5 billion to $11 billion if policymakers make the right choices.
To be honest, I’m not sure I can make any sense out of the drawn out “short session” of the 128th Legislature. Energy issues were not significantly advanced. Some gains were made with tax conformity. The Taxation Committee was responsive to our policy concerns and rejected changes to the Tree Growth and forestry excise tax programs, and the UT budget. The Agriculture,Conservation and Forestry Committee was engaged in battles with the administration and was hearing mixed messages from the industry. The governor’s record use of vetoes – 643 over his eight years, according to the BDN, compared to 469 for all governors dating back to 1917 – affected the discipline of the legislative body.
We pushed back on threatening policies and mainly prevailed. However, our 20-year resistance to arming forest rangers was overruled this session. There’s a certain irony in that because the emerald ash borer invasion demonstrated our point that threats to natural resource protection – not ranger safety – are growing.
On the regulatory front, we made some gains. LUPC is leading a discussion about planning in the unorganized territory by examining the adjacency rules. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a determination that the endangered species designation for Canada lynx should be dropped. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection petitioned the federal EPA to remove Maine from the Ozone Transport Region. DEP’s action was based on sound science and an understanding that these regulations are detrimental to our recovering industry. The Council’s advocacy efforts, including strong testimony from sawmills, pulp and paper mills and wood manufacturers, resonated with state regulators, who moved forward with these important changes.
Many thanks to the talented MFPC team, Sue McCarthy, Roberta Scruggs, Pat Sirois, Michele MacLean and Bill Ferdinand, who are committed to serving members and looking out for our collective best interests.
To me, these are rewarding times in the management of the Council! I look forward to the next year armed with proactive legislative ideas from you and our strategic planning process. I also count on your active involvement as we work together to build a stronger forest economy in the coming year.
On Sept. 17, Mark Doty of Madison, who recently retired from Weyerhaeuser, received the Maine Forest Products Council’s most prestigious award at MFPC’s Annual Meeting in Phippsburg.
The Albert Nutting award was created in 1990 to honor Al Nutting, the former director of the School of Forestry at the University of Maine, Maine Commissioner of Forestry and one of the founders of the Maine Forest Products Council. The plaque is printed on a piece of black locust that grew on the lawn of the Nutting homestead in Otisfield before 1850 by a Nutting ancestor. This award is presented annually to an individual who “have demonstrated recognized qualities of leadership and integrity, as well as a commitment to the values both public and private, generated from the working forest. His or her experience will reflect concern for the sound environmental use as well as the economic value of the forest to industry and the community at large.”
“In recognition of his innovative and effective leadership; his exceptional communication skills; his strong commitment to sustainable forestry and conservation and his unwavering advocacy for the forest products industry not only in Maine, but also in New Hampshire and Vermont.”
Jim Robbins Sr. of Robbins Lumber presented the award, saying, “It is my honor tonight to present this award to one of the finest gentlemen in the industry, Mark Doty. It has been my pleasure to work with Mark on the Executive Committee of the Maine Forest Products Council for many years and view firsthand his leadership abilities. As a leader Mark always keeps his cool, makes sure everyone has their say and is respectful to everyone.
“Mark is a great leader recognized not only in Maine but also in other New England states. Let me read some of his accomplishments to you. I’m sure most of you don’t know that Mark worked draft horses at a horse farm in Morrill during 1977 and 1978 and helped haul shavings for their bedding from the Robbins sawmill in Searsmont.
“He went on to also earn a B.S. degree in Forest Engineering (Summa cum laude) from the University of Maine in Orono in 1986. On the Scott Paper landbase, worked as a summer intern while in college 1985 and 1986, was hired full time in 1987 as a dirt forester (by Doug Denico), joined the manager ranks in 1993 eventually being responsible for management of 500,000 acres. He then moved into Community Affairs, Government Affairs and Communication from 2007 (following Doug Denico’s retirement) until Mark’s retirement in 2018, having worked for five landowners on the same land base (Scott Paper, SD Warren, Sappi, Plum Creek, Weyerhaeuser).
- Maine licensed forester #1073 since 1987
- Maine Forest Products Council, board member 2007 to present, and past president
- Vermont Woodlands Association, board member, 2014 to 2018
- Vermont Forest Products Association, board member, 2012 to 2018
- NH Timber Owners Association, board member, 2014 to 2018, resigned as president elect 2017
- Maine SFI Implementation Committee 2007 to 2016, and past chair
- Cooperative Forestry Research Unit, CFRU, board member 2008 to 2014, and past chair
- Sportsmen/Forest Landowner Alliance 2007 to 2017, and past chair
- University of Maine, School of Forest Resources, Robert I. Ashman Scholar 1985-86
- Northeast Logger’s Association, Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award 2017
- Vermont Forest Products Association, Vermont’s Outstanding Leadership in Industry Award 2017
- Purchased and began management of 160 acre woodlot with his family in 2014
- Town of Madison – resident 2008 to present, planning board member 2013 to present, Lake Wesserunsett Association current president
- Town of Cornville – resident 1993 to 2008, member of the volunteer fire department for 10 years, Comprehensive Planning Committee
- Town of Caratunk – resident 1988 to 1993, held positions as selectman, planning board member, code enforcement officer and fire department member
- Appalachian Trail corridor monitor, Maine, 2009 to present
Last, but certainly not least, Mark and his wife Lilly raised two wonderful sons, one settled in England training museums in the use of archiving software and the other is a forester with Two Trees Forestry in Winthrop Maine. Mark is enjoying his retirement and now works only 40 hours a week surveying, running GPS and total station instruments. He’s also active recreationally – mountain climbing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, kayaking and sailing, mountain biking.
“You just have to wonder how he’s found the time to do all that,” Robbins joked.
“In recognition of her lifelong commitment to Maine’s natural environment and those that enjoy it, with particular focus on her work with North Maine Woods, IF&W’s Sportsman / Landowner relations program, Maine Snowmobilers Association, Maine Sporting Camp Owners Association, Maine’s UT land use planning, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, and her leadership at UMaine.”
Steve Schley, president of Pingree Associates in Bangor from 1989 to 2017, presented the Abby Holman award to Sarah Medina, Seven Islands land use director, saying, “It gives me great pleasure this evening to present the Maine Forest Products Council Abby Holman Public Service Award. Abby Holman devoted herself to this industry and her clients and this evening’s recipient has done the same. I have been my privileged to call Sarah Medina a friend for over 40 years. One of the first times I met her she loaned me her motorcycle so I could take a run to the coast and see my grandparents.
“Some of you may not know that Sarah Medina was the first female graduate of UMaine’s forestry school. Sarah has served on UMaine curriculum and accreditation committees, their Forest Resource Advisory Committee (FRAC), and participated in classroom settings inspiring other women to pursue the profession.
“Seven Islands Land Company was lucky enough to hire Sarah out of college and is been blessed that she remains an integral part of the team today. Sarah has marked wood for harvest, laid out roads and just about everything else you can imagine but her work with the public sector is why she is being recognized tonight.
“Sarah was there when LURC was created by the legislature. She has worked with LURC issues, now LUPC, her entire career and I have often heard it said that as LURC staffers came and went, everyone recognized that Sarah knows Unorganized Territory regulatory and management issues better than anyone. Sarah has the same experience with Maine’s Tree Growth Tax law, witnessing its birth and participating in the constant legislative consideration for change. Sarah has had a lifelong passion for in-woods recreation helping found North Maine Woods for public use accommodation and has always been an active participant in Maine’s snowmobile industry.
“Sarah has been mentoring Hannah Stevens at Seven Islands in Bangor for the last couple of years. Hannah has noted that Sarah is known all over the state, not only within the forest industry, but within state agencies, non-profits, and other outside groups. Hannah remembers a staff member at a land trust remarking that before she writes a reply email to someone on any remotely contentious issue she takes a breath and thinks, “what would Sarah write?” Sarah has an amazing way of stating her (or the company’s) position on an argument firmly and professionally with a wealth of background information to support her point. She has a long track record of working with different folks to find common ground on which to proceed, and also with holding strong when needed.
“Sarah is generous. She is generous with her time and her knowledge. She has a great passion for education, evidenced by her long service to organizations like Girl Scouts and Project Learning Tree. She’s been involved with Make-A-Wish projects and many other things in her personal time, like her hometown food co-op.
“I am very pleased to present Sarah the 2018 Abby Holman Public Service Award.”
By Jim Contino, outgoing president of the Maine Forest Products Council
The President’s Award is a recognition reserved to the Presidents discretion. I get to give it to anyone I want – it’s one of the few perks of the job… Since I am the outgoing President, this is essentially my last gasp! It is my pleasure to present this award to Ken Laustsen.
“In recognition of his public service to the forest products industry as state biometrician, as well as his unique ability to make a complicated subject easily understood. His advocacy for better forestry communications went far beyond insuring that facts and figures were correct. He helped people evaluate the credibility and usefulness of information so that they could make better decisions.”
Ken has recently finished a distinguished Forest Products career that started in 1974 as a ROW Foreman doing brush control work for Asplundh and ended this year when he retired from the Maine Forest Service as as our Forest Biometrician. He was not always the inventory geek that most of us know and love today. In between he had lots of different jobs:
- 1975 – 90: A bunch of forest operations jobs for Great Northern.
- 1990 – 99: He gravitated to become the inventory guy for GNP.
- 1999 – 2018: He served as the Biometrician for the State.
Many of you might not know exactly what a Forest Biometrician is. I suggest you think of it this way:
- One part mensurationist (Timber Cruiser)
- One part statistician (Poker Player)
- One part modeler (Computer Geek)
Shake them together vigorously and you get a guy who can tell you just about anything that you need to know about the forests of Maine. Not only can he tell you how much standing timber there is but he can model its growth and availability. Many of us in this room have developed love affairs with the forests of Maine. We go to sleep at night and we see pictures of the places we have worked come to us in our dreams. I think Ken is different because in his dreams he is watching movies rather than just looking at pictures. Ken is an extraordinary Biometrician because he has seen the Maine forest change through the last 45 years and he is gifted enough to play that movie into the future for the rest of us. A good Biometrician knows how to model change. Ken is a very good Biometrician!
Ken is worth his weight in gold to anyone that needs to scope out the available wood supply for expansions or new projects. I worked closely with Ken when we were doing the wood supply projections for the Bucksport mill biomass project. Sadly, that project could not prevent the demise of our mill there but I can tell you that Ken helped us nail the volume of material that was available to us from the counties surrounding Bucksport. Three years after the project, we conducted a post capital review to measure the success of the project and it turned out that our supply assumptions and resulting wood cost projections were incredibly close to what we projected. There is simply no way I was smart enough to have done that without Ken’s help.
It strikes me that we really need someone to fill this role for us in Maine as developers and new technologies look to create new markets and investments. Ken left some very big shoes to fill and I am certain they are very important shoes to fill as well.
But it was never all about the Forestry Stuff for Ken. He is incredibly devoted to a number of community service organizations including:
- Abanaki Girl Scouts
- Ducks Unlimited
- Maine Tree Farm
- Society of American Foresters
- Project Learning Tree
- Accredited softball and soccer umpire
The volunteer list goes on, but the umpire role seemed to make perfect sense to me. The one guy in the room that I could not imagine arguing with over a tough sports call would be Ken. He would absolutely always get the benefit of the doubt from me.