Leadership Corner

Welcoming new employees to the Forest Service

July 14th, 2017 at 1:30PM

Chief Tom Tidwell I had the opportunity to meet the newest members of our Forest Service team this week at the National New Employee Orientation in Region 9. I am pleased to report that we have passionate and capable employees joining our already amazing team. I spoke with them for about an hour and covered the topics below. I am sharing them with you because I think they are valuable reminders for all of us. Thank you as always for your hard work and dedication.

Chief Tom Tidwell

New Employee Orientation Welcome Letter

Welcome to the U.S. Forest Service. On behalf of the thousands of men and women who have dedicated their lives to caring for the land and serving people, we are honored that you have chosen to bring your passion and talents to our team.

You now represent the Forest Service to the people we serve. Americans care about National Forests because of the economic, social and environmental benefits forests and grasslands provide. National Forests and Grasslands exist because people need clean air and water, recreational opportunities, as well as rich and healthy biodiversity. These lands also contribute to jobs and economic benefits that sustain local and rural communities.

We are intimately connected to the communities we serve, so what you say and do matters. How you choose to show up matters. We must all strive to be good neighbors on the landscape, while demonstrating a commitment to service toward all citizens.  We’re here to meet the needs of present and future generations. We’ve always been about that, and now that we’re in our second century of service, we’re looking ahead and deciding how we’ll improve lives for the next 100 years.


Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell answers questions during the Forest Service New Employee Orientation, July 11, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo.

You’re embarking on a mission that will be one of the most interesting and rewarding experiences of your life. Few agencies offer as many opportunities for professional growth as the Forest Service. Our employees regularly move into different areas of expertise and responsibility, driven by their talent and passion. Whatever the capacity and scope of your work, you will be making a difference every day. You’ll change the lives of Americans of all ages and abilities, from all walks of life. 

To understand our mission, I encourage you to read our Strategic Plan. In it, you’ll learn how we fit into communities and people’s lives. You can get a glimpse of the work that supports this plan in my daily communication channel – Inside the Forest Service. Check it for updates every day to see why our work matters.

It’s up to us all to build a safe, rewarding and resilient workplace for all employees. Our wellbeing and success depends on building trust, eliminating unnecessary exposure to unhealthy and hazardous conditions, and learning from others as we work. Help me create this standard at the Forest Service. Demand it of yourself and others.  In addition, we want to ensure you work in an inclusive environment where you are treated with dignity and respect.

I mentioned a safe workplace, but that’s just one part of the safety journey. Be safe in everything you do at the Forest Service, as well as in all aspects of your life. Every employee is authorized to stop all unsafe acts and conditions he or she sees, hears about or even suspects. Thinking and practicing safety saves lives. I want you all to go home at the end of the day, the same or better than you arrived.

Again, welcome. Please enjoy this special time of discovery in your Forest Service career. I’m glad you’re here, we’re a stronger agency because of you.