Curtis R. Hopkins is the 2022 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. Flora, a two-time MSU graduate, earned a 1971 bachelor's degree in forestry and a 1973 master's degree in wildlife ecology. He also holds a Ph.D. in wildlife sciences from Texas A&M. Hopkins began his career as an assistant ranger and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Forest Service and later joined Ducks Unlimited, where he held progressive leadership roles. He served as director of the Southern Region that encompassed 13 states from 2007 until his retirement in 2013. From 2014 until this March, Hopkins was executive secretary for the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies where he worked with 15 state fish and wildlife agencies, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to promote wildlife and fish conservation. His career achievements have been distinguished with many awards over the years, including the Mississippi Wildlife Federation's Conservationist of the Year.
Russell W. "Rusty" Booker is the 2021 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. Booker earned a bachelor's degree in forestry from MSU in 1991 and subsequently began his career with Chesapeake Forest Products Company. For nearly 30 years, Booker has worked in progressive roles across the forestry industry for companies including International Paper Co., Drax Biomass International, and Weyerhaeuser. At International Paper, he helped design and institute a better supply strategy to lead the leanest divisional team at the second-largest virgin fiber consuming mill in the company and was awarded the inaugural Catalyst Award in the Forest Resources Division. Today, Booker serves as president of Scotch Land Management, LLC in Fulton, Alabama. Founded in 1888, the company provides comprehensive land and timber management services for more than 350,000 acres.
Michael W. Wood of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the 2020 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. Wood holds a bachelor of science and a master of science, both in wood science and technology, earned from MSU's College of Forest Resources in 1976 and 1980, respectively. Wood then began his accomplished career with Chapman Chemical Company as a research wood scientist, then sales representative, and finally regulatory affairs manager. By 1988, Wood joined Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands, as an operations manager. Since then, Wood has enjoyed a number of progressive roles from environmental audit manager, regional environmental affairs manager, U.S. state environmental affairs team leader, and environmental team leader, where he led teams of high performing, environmental professionals providing regulatory and technical support to manufacturing and timberlands operations worldwide. More recently, Wood is leading environmental managers supporting manufacturing operations in the eastern U.S. and also works to mentor employees rising toward senior-level positions.
Edward J. Penny of Houston, Mississippi is the 2019 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. Penny earned his bachelor's in wildlife, fsheries and aquaculture and his master's in wildlife and fsheries science in 2000 and 2003, respectively. He served in numerous roles within the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks including as waterfowl biologist, director of the Wildlife Bureau, director of Conservation Programs and, most recently, as interim director of the Wildlife Bureau. Currently, he is the director of public policy at Ducks Unlimited, handling public policy eforts in Mississippi and 12 other states.
Tony L. Tooke of Bristow, Virginia is a 1983 forestry graduate and former chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Prior to his retirement, he served in numerous roles within the agency including regional forester for the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Forest Service chief of staff and associate deputy chief for the National Forest System. His resume also includes work throughout the Forest Service Southern Region comprised of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi. He grew up in Detroit, Alabama, and began work with the USDA Forest Service at age 18.
Elizabeth "Liz" Rooks-Barber is a 1987 double major graduate in forestry and wildlife and fisheries. Barber is vice president, co-owner and co-founder of Barber and Mann Inc. Her firm helps landowners across the United States protect their properties from development through conservation easements. As a certified wildlife biologist, Liz specializes in conservation planning, land use mitigation, natural resource management, and wildlife consulting. She has extensive expertise in working with non-government organizations in lands and resource protection. Barber is a highly-respected leader and considered one of the premier conservationists in the Southeast.
John D. Enlow, is a 1990 forestry graduate, Enlow is vice president of real estate and southern timberlands at Weyerhaeuser Co. He joined Weyerhaeuser in 2014 to lead the company's southern division and in 2015 assumed leadership of Weyerhaeuser's real estate nationally. He also holds an MBA from Brenau University and is a graduate of the Executive Education Strategy Program of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Elton R. Coley is the College of Forest Resources 2015 Alumnus of the Year. Coley received a 1974 bachelor's degree in forestry and a 1975 master's in business administration. He is president of Forest Managers and Consultants Inc. and the principal of TMA Wood Inc. Earlier in his career, Coley was forester with Champion International Corporation for over a decade. Coley is a registered forester in Alabama and Mississippi and a certifed forester in the Society of American Foresters. He is a real estate broker and a real estate appraiser in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Dr. Clutter is the Dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia and the Hargreaves Distinguished Professor of Forest Finance in the School. Mike spent 17 years in private industry which included serving as Georgia Pacific's vice president of decision support and information resources. Dr. Clutter has conducted extensive research on financial aspects of forestry. He is recognized worldwide as an expert on forest finance and timberland investments. Dr. Clutter is a member of the Georgia Foresters Hall of Fame, past chair of the American Forest and Paper Association's inventory committee, and on the board of directors of Forest Investment Associates, and the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Mike is a proud supporter of the Bulldogs and an ambassador of the highest caliber for our college. He is a respected and trusted leader in natural resources conservation and management.
David is an entrepreneur, a community leader, and an ambassador for sustainable forestry. He is President of Barge Forest Products Company which employs over 90 people in his hometown of Macon. His company produces high quality Southern Yellow Pine lumber and owns and manages over 50,000 acres of timberland. He is generous with his time, often meeting with forestry students and serving on university advisory boards and committees. David is a man of high character and is recognized throughout Mississippi as a trusted leader. He provides an exemplary example for our students and alumni, serves as an ambassador for our college and university, and he is a resilient advocate for good stewardship of our natural resources. The College of Forest Resources is proud to recognize David Barge as our alumnus of the year. Barge is a 1976 and 1977 forestry graduate.
The College of Forest Resources is pleased to recognize Larry Castle as its 2012 alumnus of the year. Larry is a true conservationist. He began his career in the late 70s when he began his work as a MSU master's student, since that time he has moved up the ranks in the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and today he is the chief of wildlife. Throughout his career, Larry has continuously worked with landowners, farmers, youth, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts to improve wildlife habitat and increase wildlife populations. As a biologist, he has supervised all of Mississippi's Wildlife Management Areas, and as an administrator, he has provided leadership to create one of the best state wildlife agencies in the nation. The College of Forest Resources is proud to recognize Larry for being an outstanding ambassador for our college and our university and for being a good steward of our state resources. The 2012 Alumnus of the Year is Larry Castle. Castle is a 1978 wildlife graduate.
James A. Dubovsky plays an important role as regional chief for the Division of Migratory Bird Management for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has been heavily involved in migratory bird management issues and has devoted the majority of his prestigious career to the pursuit of improving migratory managemnet decisions with science and decision-making processes. He is currently working on a prioritization system for game birds that will direct research and monitoring efforts and funding for migratory bird initiatives into the future. Dubovsky received his bachelor of science from Michigan State University in 1983, and a master's and doctorate in wildlife from Mississippi State University, 1987 and 1990, respectively.
Bently Wigley Jr. Bently has been working in forestry and wildlife management throughout the south for more than 30 years. As manager for the Sustainable Forestry and Eastern Wildlife Program of the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Bently has excelled in improving the performance of forestry and logging systems. Bently developed a love for natural resources at an early age. He has taken that passion into his career, and every day he works to conserve our forests, wildlife, and water resources. He has shared his knowledge and instilled this respect for the environment with students at land-grant universities throughout the South. One of the most respected leaders in the nation in the field of forestry and wildlife, he received a bachelor of science in forestry in 1975, a master’s in wildlife ecology in 1977 and doctorate in wildlife ecology and botany in 1981.
Charles E. "Eddie" Thaggard has made a huge impact on the forest products industry throughout his career. General manager of Hood Industries’ plywood operations, he is a 1983 petroleum engineering graduate who went on to earn a master’s degree in wood science and technology in 1987. He has developed computer models to optimize profits, better utilize timber resources and decrease transportation costs. A true conservationist, Eddie has initiated procedures to eliminate wastes and use timber resources in a sustainable manner, all while increasing profits for his employers. Eddie has always strived for excellence, not only for the company, but for the individuals with which he worked. He successfully led a safety campaign that turned a plant with the highest OSHA Recordable injury rate in the division into one that received numerous safety awards.
James H. "Jim" Tidwell of Frankfort, Ky., is the 2008 Alumnus of the Year for the College of Forest Resources. A 1987 doctoral graduate in aquaculture, wildlife and fisheries, he is aquaculture division chair at Kentucky State University’s Aquaculture Research Center. Tidwell received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a master’s from Samford University. As coordinator for aquaculture programs, Tidwell is responsible for oversight of all aquaculture programs (research, extension and education) at KSU. This includes coordination of schedules, allocation of physical resources, and maintenance and operations of the Aquaculture Research Center (ARC).
Charlie W. Morgan of Jackson is the College of Forest Resources 2007 Alumnus of the Year. A 1973 forestry graduate and former manager with International Paper Co, he was named to the State Forestry Commission leadership post in 2006. Under Morgan’s leadership, the commission began reorganizing during Fiscal Year 2006. As a result, the commission has taken a business management approach to agency operations.
Tim Rials is the 2006 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. Rials is professor and director of the Tennessee Forest Products Center, a component of the University of Tennessee. Rials received his bachelor of science in forestry from Mississippi State University in 1980. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in wood science and technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Ruth Cook is the College of Forest Resources Alumna of the Year. Cook received her B.S. degree in forestry in 1982. She is the director of strategic planning for the Philadelphia-based Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC. Cook has previously served as the CFR Alumni Association president and been very active in supporting the college and MSU. Cook is a registered forester in Mississippi and Alabama, a certified professional logging manager and an active member of the Society of American Foresters. She is also a member of the Mississippi and Louisiana Forestry Association.
Jim Tisdale has been named 2004 College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year. This alumni honor recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni whose personal lives, professional accomplishments and community service best exemplify the Tisdale named CFR Alumnus of the Year mission of Mississippi State University. Tisdale recently retired after 41 years of service with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including 18 years as manager of the Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. He received his undergraduate degree in forestry and his master’s degree in wildlife management from Mississippi State University. Tisdale’s accomplishments for the refuge include helping start the Larry Box Environmental Educational Center with the Starkville School District and constructing a new $2 million Refuge Office and Visitor Center on the banks of Bluff Lake. He also helped bring the endangered red cockaded woodpecker up from 16 colonies to 45 colonies. Tisdale graduated in 1963.
Oktibbeha County native Adrian M. Blocker is the College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year at Mississippi State University. Blocker, who holds three MSU degrees, is the Savannah, Ga.-based director of strategic planning for International Paper Co. Blocker received bachelor’s degrees in forestry and general business administration in 1979 and a master’s in business administration in 1981.
Brian T. Gray of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is presented the College of Forest Resources Alumnus of the Year award by CFR dean Sam Foster. Director of conservation programs and information systems for Ducks Unlimited Canada, he earned a doctorate in 1992 in wildlife ecology. The annual awards program is sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association to honor graduates who are recognized leaders in their fields of endeavor. Gray joined DUC’s headquarters in Stonewall in 1996 after working for a number of years as a wildlife scientist at Alberta-based Golder Associates.
Curtis "Skip" McCollough, a 1979 graduate of the College of Forest Resources, has been named 2001 CFR Alumnus of the Year. McCollough is president and owner of South Mississippi Forest Products of Mississippi Inc. which offers a variety of services to the timber industry. He also is president of Southern Timber Resources of Louisiana Inc. At MSU, he earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1979 with a minor in wildlife management. While building both companies to the level they are today, Skip also has taken time to mentor MSU forestry students and has several students co-op with his firms. In addition, he has hired CFR graduates as full-time employees with both of these companies. "I feel that I attended the greatest College of Forest Resources in the country," he said. In 1998, McCollough and his wife Julie established the Mississippi Forest Products Annual Scholarship in the CFR. Each year, the McColloughs’ contribution covers the full cost of tuition and fees for two students enrolled in any department on the college. McCollough said that for his family MSU not only is a tradition - daughter Stephanie is enrolled - but also a way to a wonderful life. When asked about being named CFR Alumnus of the Year, Skip said, "To receive such a tremendous honor has been one of the high points of my life. Never in my wildest imagination would I have ever dreamed of being named CFR Alumnus of the Year."
Jeff K. Easterling of New Orleans, La. received a bachelor’s degree in wood science and technology and business administration from MSU in 1980. The Huntsville, Ark., native is vice president of marketing for Southern Forest Products Association in Kenner, La.
Tony Parks of Clinton.
Kenneth Stewart of Atlanta.
Steven A. Corbitt of Jackson received his bachelor’s degree in forest resources from Mississippi State in 1976, is executive vice president of the Mississippi Forestry Association.
Thomas R. Terfehr of Stamford, Conn., vice president of materials at Champion International, School of Forest Resources. Terfehr received a master’s degree in forest economics in 1975.
Dr. Billy Teels of Manassas, Va., a 1975 doctoral graduate and national biologist for the U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service.
Chief of Operation Division, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ Mobile District.
Tennessee Division of Forestry.