Craig F. Blair received his master's degree in forestry in 1982. He has enjoyed a successful 36-year career with Resource Management Service (RMS), Inc. The Fort Smith, Arkansas native has a wealth of forest products industry experience in acquisitions, resource planning, forest management, and wood procurement. Blair now serves as president and CEO of RMS and chairman of the company's board of managers and investment committee. He leads an experienced team of forestry and financial professionals that manage a global portfolio of more than $4 billion in timberland investments.
Steven L. "Steve" Pung is a 1980 wood science and technology graduate. A native of Oak Island, North Carolina, Pung has amassed experience with Weyerhaeuser Company and Eggers Industries, among others in his 37-year career in the forest products field. Since 2005, Pung has been vice president of technology and innovation for Columbia Forest Products. He joined the company as a division engineer in 1995 and has held progressive roles. One of his greatest career achievements has been the development and commercialization of a bio-based adhesive system to replace formaldehyde-based adhesives in interior composite wood panels. Pung is a recipient of the EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.
Steve Bullard is a 1977 and 1980 forestry graduate. He is provost and academic affairs vice president at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he also holds the Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Forestry. Prior to his appointment as provost, he served as dean of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University. He completed a doctorate in forest management-economics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Early in his career, Bullard served in numerous positions in the MSU College of Forest Resources, where he held the title of Sharp Professor of Forest Economics. In addition to teaching, Bullard conducted research in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center. He served as professor and chair of the Department of Forestry at the University of Kentucky, prior to his position at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Ruth J. Cook of Seminary is the college of forest resources 2015 Alumni Fellow. A 1982 forestry graduate, Cook currently directs government affairs and forest certification for the Molpus Woodlands Group LLC. A registered forester in Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, she has been included by the Mississippi Business Journal in its 50 Leading Business Women recognition program. She was Alumnus of the Year for the College of Forest Resources in 2005.
World L.-S. Nieh of Oak Hill, Virginia, a 1990 doctoral graduate in forest products, is the College of Forest Resources 2014 Alumni Fellow. Now with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C., his most recent achievement includes representation as the agency's forest products program lead for a $20 million national research program. Previously, he was director of amino resin development with Southeastern Adhesives Co. in Lenoir, North Carolina, and senior development chemist with Georgia-Pacific Resins Inc. in Decatur, Georgia. Before enrolling at MSU, he completed a bachelor's degree from National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan and a master's degree from Virginia Tech University.
James L. Cummins Jr. of Amory, a 1987 fisheries management graduate currently serving as executive director for Stoneville-based Wildlife Mississippi. He also is founder of the Mississippi River Trust, The Carbon Fund and Theodore Roosevelt Society.
Dr. David E. Wesley Sr., a 1962 and 1968 alumnus, is the 2012 fellow for the College of Forest Resources. Wesley holds two degrees from MSU, a bachelor's in history and political science and a master's in wildlife and fisheries with an emphasis in zoology. He is retired and resides in Missoula, Montana.
The College of Forest Resources named Laurel, Miss. Native Marion V. Cooley as fellow. A 1958 forest products graduate, he is now manager of Cooley Timberlands in Brookhaven, Miss. As a result of earning his degree from then-Mississippi State College, Cooley has enjoyed a lifelong career as a registered, certified forester and land surveyor. He has traveled extensively outside the United States, gaining knowledge of better forest practices as he held roles for two forestry industries. For over 50 years, Cooley has held membership in the Society of American Foresters and in the Mississippi Forestry Association. He is also a member of the Tree Farmers Association, owning property recognized as a "certified family forest."
The College of Forest Resources 2010 Alumni Fellow is Dr. Wayne H. Smith. The 1962 and 1965 graduate holds a master’s and doctoral degree from Mississippi State. Smith currently serves as a professor and director emeritus in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. His extensive research has covered the areas of forest soils, nutrition and biogeochemical cycling, biomass energy, and organics composting and utilization. Prior to attending MSU, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Florida. He and his wife Mitzi now reside in Melrose, Fla.
The College of Forest Resources 2009 Alumni Fellow is Edith "Edy" Williams-Rhodes. Williams-Rhodes is a 1976 forestry graduate and is a retired chief of the Division of Fire and Aviation with the National Park Service. Daugher of alumnus Dan Williams, a 1951 graduate, Williams-Rhodes has served as an area commander in ICS and the first female regional fire director for the United States Forestry Services in the southwest region. She currently resides in Hattiesburg with her husband, John, and is a realtor with Coldwell Banker Don Nace, Inc.
The College of Forest Resources 2008 Alumni Fellow is James Earl Kennamer of Edgefield, S.C. Kennamer is the senior vice president for conservation program for the National Wild Turkey Association. Kennamer received his master’s degree in wildlife management in 1967 and then a doctoral in wildlife management in 1970. A former professor of wildlife, Kennamer has forged strong ties between hunters and wildlife agencies, corporations and conservation groups, to help restore turkey populations across North America.
The College of Forest Resources 2007 Alumni Fellow is John D. Hodges of Ashland. A 1959 forestry graduate, Hodges was one of the first students to earn a bachelor’s degree from the then-young School of Forestry. Hodges holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington. He joined the faculty in 1975 and taught silviculture and conducted research in the areas of hardwood silviculture, physiology, ecology, and wetland restoration until 1996. Hodges retired from Mississippi State and went to Anderson-Tully where he led the company’s land management program. In 2000, Hodges returned to MSU to run the hardwood forestry extension program.
Curtis Hopkins of Jackson is the College of Forest Resources 2006 Alumni Fellow. Hopkins is the conservation program director for Ducks Unlimited’s Southern Regional Office and a 1971 forestry graduate. He received a master’s degree in wildlife ecology in 1973 from MSU and earned a Ph.D. from Texas A & M University. Hopkins has been employed by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. for the last 26 years. In his current position, he oversees wetland and upland habitat conservation across 15 states.
Gerald Moore is the 2005 College of Forest Resources Alumni Fellow. Moore is the owner and president of Pine Belt Foresters in Petal, a forestry consulting firm. Moore is a 1963 graduate in forestry. He is president and board member of the Mississippi Forestry Association, serves on the membership committee for the American Forestry Association, and is a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters.
Willie H. "Bill" Tomlinson Jr of Vicksburg recently was selected College of Forest Resources Alumni Fellow. Tomlinson received a bachelor’s degree in forest management and a master’s in wildlife ecology in 1972 and 1977, respectively. He is president of Wildlife Technical Services, a natural resource and environmental consulting firm.
James L. "Jim" Sledge has been named 2003 Alumni Fellow for the College of Forest Resources. The Alumni Fellows program brings graduates of distinction back to campus to share their professional experiences and provide career guidance for current students and their faculty mentors. Sledge is a 1961 forestry graduate from Crystal Springs. He is the current Mississippi State Forester and formerly served as woodlands manager for Mead Corp.’s Stevenson, Ala., paper and saw mills. Sledge is the former president of the National Association of State Foresters.
Robert A. Haupt of Hayward, Wis., is the CFR’s 2002 Alumni Fellow. Haupt is a 1992 master’s degree graduate in forest products. Today, he is global technology manager for Dynea Paper Overlays, a leading international manufacturer of adhesives, industrial resins, and other bonding products. Formerly of Aurora, Ill., he also holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois. During the 1990s, he held the rank of senior research chemist at the company’s global research and development group in Norway, where his fluency in Norwegian, German, Hungarian, Russian, and Spanish proved an invaluable asset.
As project manager for Weyerhauser Engineering Services, Sally Cook manages the construction of capital projects in wood products and pulp and paper. She worked in North Carolina until late August when she moved to the company’s Ontario, Canada, facility. That move, however, is only one of many in a 21-year career since she earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry from MSU. Cook has held numerous positions in the industry and credits Mississippi State with providing a solid background. At MSU, she says, "It was not any ONE class or any ONE professor who made the difference. The COMBINATION of hands-on skill building in labs, teamwork in group projects, classroom discussions, and leadership experience in school activities all have been key in my career." Cook says her parents have been the greatest influences on bother her personal and professional life. "They taught all of my family that you can achieve anything you set your mind to strive for and gave us the encouragement through both successes and challenges." The Canton native lists her greatest accomplishment at MSU as obtaining a master of business administration degree while working full time.
Tom Darden, a 1974 and 1980 graduate of the College of Forest Resources, is the College of Forest Resources Alumni Fellow for 2000. As regional director of wildlife and fisheries for the U.S. Forest Service, Darden oversees numerous programs and policies for some 12.5 million acres of forests and grasslands in 13 Southern states and Puerto Rico. If that’s not enough, he has served as project leader since 1995 for a U.S.-India large scale assessment of Indian conservation management. The New Albany native is sure some of his professional success comes from his time at Mississippi State. Darden earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1974 and a master’s degree in wildlife ecology in 1980. "MSU gave me a very sound technical background and helped me develop critical thinking skills," he says. Although he has had several "mentors" in his career, he acknowledges Dr’s. George Switzer and George Hurst for their lasting impressions and help in guiding his development in land ethnics and science. In his professional life, Darden is most proud of the role he has played in promoting interaction among both forestry and environmental interests at international, national, regional, and local levels. In addition, he helped design the Forest Service’s continuing education program, where he has served as instructor. The program has reached more than 3000 federal and state professional biologists and ecologists. While at MSU, Darden was recognized at both undergraduate and graduate levels for academic achievement. He also was active in research and taught courses in natural resources, zoology, and computer science. Among his fondest memories from his alma mater are "the people. The faculty and students ...mostly in forestry and wildlife, as well as the Trammel Computing Center." "Dorman Hall was the center of activity in those days," he recalled. Now an Atlanta resident, Darden is the father of two sons, David and Tom Morgan. When he has time away from the forest service, he enjoys fishing, sailing, birding, skeet shooting, and bird hunting. And, he claims to still be "a fair blues/jazz drummer and amateur photographer."
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.