The Forest Service

My duties as Chief Historian of the USDA Forest Service include directing all aspects of this Federal agency’s history program, including research and publication, public speaking, digital asset management, archival storage, external outreach, producing and managing oral histories, as well as policy support, expert testimony in Federal court, and developing a strategic vision for history within the land management agency’s mission. During my tenure with the agency I have temporarily served as a Legislative Affairs specialist acting as direct liaison between the Chief’s Office and Congress, assisting development of Agency policy, providing critical political advice to leadership, writing Congressional testimony, and developing Agency-wide position on pending legislation. Similarly, I temporarily served as director of social science research for the Rocky Mountain Research Station, managing 27 PhD social scientists across several states, conducting policy review of all publications, and managing a $7 million payroll and grant budget.

Over the years I have also completed several oral history projects in partnership with several universities and the National Park Service. With my partners at Grey Towers National Historic Site, we created a writing fellowship for scholars working on any aspect of Forest Service or conservation history to live and work at the former mansion of agency’s founder. One of the greatest pleasures of my position has been contracting historians, including Steve Pyne and Ted Catton, to develop and produce book-length research projects on Forest Service history. In addition to these types of activities I have also contributed to the Forest Service mission by providing context and analysis for policy formulation at the executive level, participated in speech writing for the agency’s Chief and Deputy Chiefs, and responded to Congressional inquiry and testimony preparation as well as media inquiries as diverse as NPR, the BBC, and The New York Times.