Wood Utilization & Business Development Specialist Position - Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
This position serves as the wood utilization & business development specialist for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands and Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy (CatFire) Statewide Steering Committee. This position will:
- romote and facilitate the beneficial use of Utah forest and wood products for a variety of markets. This includes traditional forest products, such as lumber, house logs and posts & poles, along with the use of small diameter and/or low quality logs and woody biomass in value-added applications. These applications include commercial heat/energy production (chips, wood dust, hogfuel), residential firewood and pellets, animal bedding, and emerging opportunities, such as biochar as a soil amendment for restoration projects.
- Serve as a liaison between the state’s forest and wood products businesses and the numerous business and economic development resources at the federal, state and local levels.
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
- Plan, develop and coordinate activities that promote and advance wood and biomass utilization for a wide variety of traditional and value-added products. This is accomplished through collaboration, technical and financial assistance, and information & educational outreach.
- Develop and manage professional relationships with other local, state and federal partners, organizations, and businesses as appropriate to ensure advancement of objectives.
- Interact with Division staff and contribute to the coordinated delivery of Division initiatives, such as the Catastrophic Wildfire Reduction Strategy, National Cohesive Strategy, National Fire Plan/WUI, Forest Stewardship, Forest Health, and Urban & Community Forestry programs.
- Identify, evaluate and pursue opportunities to leverage partnerships and resources within Division programs, state and federal agencies, businesses and organizations to obtain additional funding. This involves researching funding sources, evaluating grant criteria, determining eligibility, and writing grant proposals. Administer all related agreements and contracts.
- Serve as a state contact and represent the Division on state, national and regional utilization issues. This involves participation and presentations at conferences, meetings and events with diverse audiences (e.g., forestry, wood products and energy sectors, business owners and entrepreneurs, economic development professionals, agency employees, communities, etc.).
- Plan, develop and implement short- and long-term programmatic goals and objectives. Evaluate program and project objectives, priorities, workflow, and available resources to define timelines, costs, and outcomes that will maximize Division resources and ensure the success of statewide utilization projects, forest and wood product business development, and the health and vitality of Utah’s forest resources. Compile and synthesize information as needed to generate reports and other means that serve to evaluate the accomplishments and effectiveness of current activities.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND OUTREACH
- Respond to wood utilization and business development issues referred by Division staff, CatFire Steering Committee, business partners and other stakeholders. This involves analyzing and evaluating the nature and scope of specific wood utilization and business development issues; consulting with resource managers and regulators, technical experts and others; and developing solutions and alternatives that promote responsible resource development, wood utilization and economic opportunity.
- Coordinate a targeted Business Expansion and Retention (“BEAR”) program with partners, including USDA Rural Development, Governor’s Office of Rural Development, Small Business Development Centers, Business Resource Centers, county economic development offices and other service providers. Serve as the principal point of contact for forest and wood product entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to start, expand in or relocate to Utah.
- Develop and maintain informational and educational materials for print and online, such as brochures, magazine articles, and web-based directory and maps. Provide pertinent, current and technically accurate information for targeted audiences and the public. Develop and manage content for the Division web site pertaining to the Utah forest products industry.
- Plan and coordinate logistics for conferences, workshops, field tours and other public events. This involves developing agendas, recruiting speakers, identifying key audiences, conducting targeted outreach, and acting as event moderator.
- Compile information and conduct analyses of the forest products industry, including identifying constraints and opportunities, tracking new/expanding businesses, and analyses of purchases and distribution of products. Create reports of potential wood supply availability at a regional scale and on a project-by-project basis. This involves extracting information from state databases, and contacting state, federal and tribal land managers to obtain information of volumes estimated from planned timber harvests and fuel reduction treatments. Work with other program managers and foresters to develop robust and efficient supply assessment methodologies.
- Research and network with similar programs in other states and agencies to identify replicable models of success and opportunities for strategic partnerships. Participate with the Utah Biomass Resources Group and other applicable work groups or partnerships in Utah.
MINIMUM REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS
- B.S. in Forestry, Natural Resources, Business Administration, Marketing or related academic field, plus one year experience in forest management, harvest or planning; OR, extensive professional experience in the forest and/or wood products industry; OR, extensive professional experience in business, economic and/or rural development.
- Knowledge of forest resources and potential wood products.
- Exceptional ability to develop positive working relationships and partnerships with agencies, organizations, government officials, businesses, landowners, etc.
- Exceptional communication skills, and ability to clearly communicate services and opportunities available to stakeholders.
- Ability to plan, coordinate and deliver meetings, workshops and outreach events.
- Ability to work independently and at a high-level to achieve specific goals and deliverables is essential. Excellent computer skills, including standard computer software use and trouble-shooting.
- Willingness to travel extensively throughout Utah.
Experience in business development, market development and/or economic development agency programs.
Successful grant writing & management experience.
- The preferred candidate would have a combination of 1) related academic degree, 2) professional experience in the forest and/or wood products industry, and 3) professional experience in business, economic and/or rural development.
Within the first year:
- Meet every FFSL Area Manager, USFS Forest Supervisor and District Ranger, BLM Field Office Manager and anyone else responsible for timber management, fuels reduction or biomass in these agencies.
- Meet with every operating logging or forest-worker (e.g., fuels reduction) company and get to know their needs. (FFSL area offices and other partners can provide contacts.)
- Meet with every remaining sawmill and primary wood production company and get to know their needs.
- Meet with the directors of USDA Rural Development and the Utah Office of Rural Development. Gain their support for the development of a targeted forest and wood products BEAR initiative.
- Meet with every economic development director, SBDC director and Business Resource Center director in every county and/or region where there is primary production, including sawmills, and logging/fuels reduction companies. With their assistance, develop and begin to implement a targeted forest and wood products BEAR initiative.
- Attend or participate with directly relevant economic development events & meetings.
- Participate with the Utah Biomass Resources Group.
- Develop positive working relationship with USFS R4 State & Private Forestry, particularly their biomass utilization program.
- Attend SmallWood and western biomass conferences.
- Attend the Utah Rural Summit (present if requested).
- Report regularly to the CatFire Steering Committee, and attend & report to every CatFire Regional Work Group at least once. Coordinate with the Division’s CatFire & WUI staff.
- Begin to update and further develop the wood products and utilization section(s) of the FFSL website.
- Develop an initial print piece (brochure, etc.) for the services of the position, particularly the targeted BEAR initiative.
- Expand and accelerate the targeted BEAR initiative (this is the year two priority). Quantifiable and measurable business expansion and retention results are expected.
- Continue to attend or participate with directly relevant economic development events & meetings.
- Attend SmallWood and western biomass conferences.
- Attend and present at the Utah Rural Summit.
- Visit the USFS Forest Products Laboratory.
- Review former Utah “CROP” information, and begin to develop an approach for coordinated and consistent supply (work and/or raw material) in Utah.
- Identify future funding sources for this position.
- Report regularly to the CatFire Steering Committee, and attend & report to every CatFire Regional Work Group at least once. Coordinate with CatFire & WUI staff.
- Complete the update of the pertinent sections of the FFSL website and manage these sections in a maintenance mode.
- Develop additional print pieces to support the work of the position.