Forest Service PMF Program
Forest Service PMF Program Mission
The USDA Forest Service's (FS) Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program aims to attract highly qualified persons with graduate degrees from a variety of academic disciplines and to prepare these individuals to be effective leaders and managers. The program should enhance the diversity and quality of the FS workforce and provide a cadre of highly qualified candidates to further the agency's mission.
“I am thrilled that we in the Forest Service are doing another round of hiring of Presidential Management Fellows. In recent years we have grown our PMF program into a critical part of our succession planning, talent acquisition, and leadership development. We specifically seek to give our PMFs significant responsibilities and broad exposure to the work that we do. It's been a worthwhile investment. We now have a vast network of PMF alumni doing a wide range of valuable work for our Agency. To a very large degree, the success of our program has been due to the contributions of the PMFs themselves. I know of no other Federal agency that has directly engaged PMFs themselves in the management of its PMF program to the extent that we have done in the Forest Service. If you are a PMF finalist, and you think you might be interested in the exciting work we do in the Forest Service, I encourage you to give our program a close look.”
Mary Wagner, Associate Chief of the Forest Service
Why Join the Forest Service as a PMF?
As a PMF you will get support from all levels of the agency throughout your career. The program is respected within the agency and the department. When you are hired, you will be paired with at least two PMFs from the previous year's class to help you get started. You also get to choose senior level mentors soon after you join to help guide you through the fellowship and throughout your FS career.
Each fall, new FS PMFs are invited to an orientation in Washington, DC to meet as a cohort, network with other FS employees, learn about opportunities as a PMF, and about the agency as a whole. People in your cohort will be great resources and friends throughout your Forest Service career.
The Forest Service PMF program is unique in that it is largely managed by the fellows themselves in collaboration with an Advisory Board. Through your work on PMF program committees, you will have opportunities to form relationships with PMF alumni and people throughout the agency.
“The improved quality of life provided through public lands stewardship is something my family and I have experienced personally. I can think of no more rewarding professional mission.”
Karl Malcolm (PMF Class of 2011), Wildlife Ecologist – Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, and Rare Plants Program – Washington, DC
PMF Advisory Board
The Advisory Board provides leadership and oversight of the FS PMF program to:
- Develop vision and strategic direction of the PMF program to facilitate the Forest Service mission and goals;
- Increase agency-wide awareness and support;
- Ensure quality experiences for interns, host staffs, and the agency; and
- Monitor and address emerging issues.
The Advisory Board is composed of FS leadership from various locations and deputy areas, including many past PMFs as well as senior-level leaders. The Advisory Board supports PMFs throughout the 2-year fellowship. Many also serve as PMF mentors.
“Not only is the PMF program well-known by leadership within Forest Service but the support network is fantastic. I don't think you would encounter the same level of enthusiasm for the program in other agencies.”
Katie Frerker (PMF Class of 2012), Conservation Education Coordinator – International Institute of Tropical Forestry – San Juan, PR
The PMF committees were developed to meet the needs of fellows as well as potential and current supervisors. Committees keep the PMF program running smoothly by organizing recruitment and orientation for the next cohort, helping PMFs through the conversion process, and organizing trainings and projects. Committee membership and leadership change annually, with committees selected by the incoming cohort during orientation.
There is flexibility for each cohort to leave its legacy. The 2012 PMFs worked with the Advisory Board to initiate a cohort project focused on wood energy. Committee work expands PMF's skills and networks, and builds camaraderie in the cohort.
“You'll hear talk about the ‘Forest Service family,’ and you really do experience that as a PMF. People are committed to the Forest Service mission and share strong bonds.”
Becky Blanchard (PMF Class of 2012), Natural Resource Specialist – Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail Program – Everett, WA
Rotations & Training
FS supports rotations and trainings for PMFs, as they are both requirements to successfully complete the program. PMFs have done rotations within the FS, as well as with other agencies and non-profits. This is something you will discuss with your supervisor once on board as part of your individual development plan.
There are many training opportunities available to FS employees. Examples of popular PMF trainings include congressional briefings, appropriations law, NEPA, and wildland fire.
Careers Beyond the Fellowship
Over the last 30 years, about 70% of FS PMFs have stayed in the agency. PMF alums now work in almost all areas. Some examples of positions that PMFs have converted into include Partnership Coordinator, Deputy District Ranger, Forest Ecologist, Recreation Planner, Regional Social Scientist, Climate Change Specialist, and Sustainable Operations Coordinator.
While some agencies hire PMFs to fill specific positions that will be vacated due to retirement or other factors, FS offers PMFs the flexibility to build careers that fit each fellow's interests and goals. Throughout the fellowship, PMFs work with supervisors and mentors to target potential conversion opportunities and get the experience and training to qualify. FS emphasizes continued learning and encourages training, shadows, details, and stretch assignments at all career stages.
Please access detailed position descriptions on OPM's PMF Talent Acquisition System.
- Assistant Public Services Staff Officer with the Shasta–Trinity National Forest; Redding, CA. OPEN
- Management Analyst with Fire & Aviation Management, Washington Office; Washington, D.C. OPEN
- Program Specialist with the Civil Rights section, Office of the Chief; Washington, D.C.
- Environmental Coordinator with the Grand Mesa Ranger District, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests; Delta, CO.
- Assistant Planner with the Santa Fe National Forest; Santa Fe, NM.
- District NEPA Planner with the Salmon/Scott River Ranger District, Klamath National Forest; Fort Jones, CA.
- Natural Resource Specialist (Recreation) with the Mt. Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest; Everett, WA.
- Natural Resource Specialist with Fire & Aviation Management, Region 8 Headquarters; Atlanta, GA.
- Management and Program Analyst with the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Gifford Pinchot National Forest; Amboy, WA.
- Minerals Management Planner and Interagency & Tribal Liaison with the Superior National Forest; Duluth, MN.
- Recreation and Transit Planner/Partnership Coordinator with the Sierra National Forest; Clovis, CA.