U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth today announced the selections for two national leadership positions at its headquarters office here. Kent Connaughton has been selected as associate deputy chief of state and private forestry and Greg Smith has been named as director of the lands staff.
This additional associate deputy chief position in state and private forestry was created for expanded executive leadership capability because of our increased hazardous forest restoration goals associated with the National Fire Plan, the Healthy Forests Initiative and the challenges facing our fire and aviation management programs. “Kent has the background and experience to help with these growing challenges and responsibilities and look forward to his arrival,” said Bosworth.
In his new position, Connaughton will help to oversee the state and private forestry organization, which is a leader in providing technical and financial assistance to landowners and resource managers to help sustain the nation’s forests and protect communities and the environment from wildland fires. Connaughton, a second generation Forest Service employee, currently serves as deputy regional forester for state and private forestry for the Pacific Southwest Region based out of Vallejo, Calf., where he has helped direct forest health, urban and community forestry, landowner assistance and economic action programs, as well as forest fuels reduction, fire suppression, recreation and wilderness management and tribal relations since 2001. As associate deputy chief for state and private forestry in Washington, he will have oversight and management direction for some of these same programs at the national level.
“I’m honored to have been selected as associate deputy chief for state and private forestry and I’m thrilled that I will be working on such a challenging array of issues affecting our nation’s forests,” said Connaughton. “It will be my privilege to be able to work with so many fine people in our national headquarters and I also look forward to forging strong working relationships with the many non-federal partners involved in our national state and private forestry programs.”
Prior to 2001, Connaughton served as project manager for the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment, which amended management plans for national forests in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. He was also forest supervisor on the Lassen National Forest in California. In addition, he served as assistant director of the U.S. Office of Forestry and Economic Development with responsibilities for coordination and implementation of 18 economic development and watershed restoration programs established by the Northwest Forest Plan and as a research scientist for the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, Ore.
The lands office resides in the agency’s National Forest System deputy area. The lands staff oversees a number of activities for the 155 national forests and 20 grasslands, including land acquisitions, land exchanges, title claims and treaty rights. Smith has served as acting director of the lands staff since December 2003. Prior to the assignment, he held the deputy director position for the office.
“I am really appreciative of the great job Greg has done in lands for the past year and a half as acting director,” said Bosworth. “Greg is uniquely qualified to manage and direct the program—one that is becoming increasingly complex—with his legal training and background of the agency’s program.”
Over his career with the Forest Service, Smith has held positions with the communications staff here in Washington as well as a public involvement officer for the Bridger-Teton National Forest in the Greater Yellowstone Area. Prior to joining the Forest Service, Smith worked as a staff attorney for the Colorado General Assembly and served as the assistant to the vice chancellor of the University of Colorado’s Health Sciences Center. He also worked as a civil rights mediator and assistant county attorney in Polk County, Iowa.
“I am humbled and excited for the opportunity to lead the challenging and complex lands and realty management program for the Forest Service,” said Smith. “My primary objective will be to develop a greater understanding among agency managers and staff regarding the role of land and realty management in achieving excellence in overall natural resources management.”
Connaughton holds a bachelor’s in biological sciences from Stanford University, a master’s in forest management from Oregon State University and a doctorate in forest economics from the University of California.
Smith graduated from Bethune-Cookman College in Florida with a bachelor’s in history and political science. He also holds a master’s in public administration from Iowa State University and a juris doctorate from Drake University.
A reporting date for Connaughton has not yet been established. Smith’s position is effective immediately.