National Forest Foundation

National Forest Leadership Council

Bernie Weingardt

Bernie Weingardt retired from the U.S. Forest Service where he served as Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. In this position, he oversaw 18 National Forests in California, which make up 20 million acres covering the North coast, Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges and extending from Big Sur to the Mexican border in the South Coast range. His responsibilities also include assistance to state and private landowners in California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Mr. Weingardt was formerly Deputy Regional Forester for Resources in the Pacific Southwest Region from January 2001 until his current appointment. Before that, he served five years as Forest Supervisor of the Wasatch-Cache National Forest headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. He began his Forest Service career in 1970 as a seasonal employee on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado working in recreation and fire. In 1974 he became a full-time employee, and through a series of natural resource management positions, gained experience and expertise, working his way up to District Ranger on the San Juan National Forest in 1980. A second District Ranger position followed in 1986 on the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest in Colorado. In 1989 he became the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington until 1993 when he was appointed as Team Leader for the National Recreation Strategy at the Forest Service’s headquarters in Washington DC. Mr. Weingardt holds a degree in Forest Management Science from Colorado State University. His favorite pastimes include carpentry and skiing, hiking and camping in the great outdoors. He is married and the proud father of a happy, energetic 2 year old.

Kathleen Atkinson

Kathleen Atkinson became the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region in February 2013. Prior to this she spent almost six years in Washington DC, as the Associate Deputy Chief for Business Operations, the Director of Strategic Planning, Budget and Accountability, as well as Budget Coordinator for the National Forest System. Kathleen has worked for the Forest Service for the past 31 years, beginning as a seasonal employee in Wyoming. She has held many assignments over her long career, working in a variety of positions and geographical locations. Kathleen has held several line officer positions, including Forest Supervisor for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest in Georgia, Deputy Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in Florida, and District Ranger on the Kisatchie National Forest in Louisiana. Before this she was a recreation planner on the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, a timber management assistant on the Ocala National Forest in Florida, a certified silviculturist on the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, and worked in several positions on the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming. Her education includes a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Michigan, and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. Kathleen grew up on a farm in southwest Michigan. She enjoys bicycling, horseback riding and mosaics.

​Doug Crandall

Doug Crandall is currently the Staff Director for the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health in Washington D.C. For two years previous to that appointment he was Vice President for the National Forest Foundation, a private nonprofit conservation organization that works in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service. For four years before that, Doug was again Staff Director for the House Resources Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. Before working for Congress, Doug spent five years as Director of Federal Forests for the American Forest and Paper Association, where he was responsible for National Forest issues. Prior to that, he spent ten years managing a lumber company -- including mill, remanufacturing facility, and logging operations - in Livingston, Montana. Previous to that, Doug spent four years on the Brazilian Amazon, first as a forester and float-plane pilot, then as a plywood mill manager. Doug graduated with a Bachelors of Science in forestry from Oregon State University in 1979 where he was selected by faculty as the most outstanding graduating senior. He has been a member and officer of numerous forestry, industry, and community organizations.

Dr. Stephen A. Fausel

Dr. Stephen A. Fausel, a man of deep commitment to the environment and conservation causes, is the Director of The Fausel Foundation, and CEO of Fausel Companies. One of his companies, LaMont Limited, is the nation's foremost manufacturer of wicker furniture for the home. Voice Assets, another of the Fausel Companies, has a stockholder interest in the Cohen Home Building process - a unique system of building high quality homes of nearly any size in a manufacturing plant without shipping components.

Dr. Fausel also heads the privately-held medical development company Anapole, Inc., which creates cutting edge science, and is currently merging physics and chemistry in the areas of TB, AIDS and other areas of interest. Buffalo Weaver, another of Dr. Fausel's companies, is named for an African bird, and is located in Iowa. This plant manufactures woven papers and other fabrics with high speed specialized looms. He is the Chairman of the Environmental Conservancy Group, which has two large conservancies in Namibia, and which aims at creating general economic sustainability for humans as well as territorial sustainability for other creatures. His interest in Africa has stimulated a desire to help its economy grow through other business ventures, as well. For instance, SeaArk International is in the business of producing, processing, marketing, and distributing seafood using advanced, "state-of-the-art" aquaculture and mari-culture technologies and production methodologies. Previously, Dr. Fausel served as Founder and President of S.A.A.S. (formerly Lien Tai Hong) which specialized in joint ventures with the People's Republic of China, and, among other accomplishments, has partnered with China's official airline, CAAC Air Cargo Division, on numerous projects - including the creation of wireless teaching systems for China in cooperation with Japanese partners. When he was not hunting or fishing, Dr. Fausel attended Truman University in Missouri and Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri. He served in the military, and was an adjunct professor at West Virginia University. He has been given membership in Northwestern University's John Evans Club, and has received an honorary doctorate from The American University of Rome. Dr. Fausel currently serves on the Advisory Board of the American Foreign Policy Council, and has served on the Board of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, and as founding board member, Honorary Chairman and National Spokesperson for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. He has served on the Board of the Intermountain West Joint Venture, of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center and of the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources; as Honorary Chairman of the Colorado Division of Wildlife Centennial and of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers; as Chairman of Physically-challenged Access to the Woods; and as a Board Member and Vice Chairman of the National Forest Foundation. He has also been a Trustee of the Native American Fish & Wildlife Foundation. In his spare time, Dr. Fausel enjoys snow skiing, long distance rifle shooting, and photography, is accomplished in one martial art, and has multiple aircraft type ratings.

Scott Fossel

Background: Age 51. Scott was born in Connecticut, raised in New Hampshire and now lives in Connecticut and Wyoming with his wife Petria and two children, a daughter (Christina, age 15) and a son (Pieter, age 11). Interests include: politics, flying, investing, skiing, fishing, hiking, bow hunting and mountain climbing. Business: Currently a consultant and private investor. For the prior eleven years he invested equity for Citicorp Venture Capital, Ltd. With eleven professional employees, CVC has earned in excess of $2.4 billion for Citicorp over the prior 10 years. Has served on the Boards of Directors of eight public and private companies with sales from $30 million to $2.7 billion. As a director, responsibilities covered all disciplines including finance, operations, marketing, compensation and strategic planning. Scott has worked at Solomon Brothers, Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., and Continental Bank. Education: B,A. Lake Forest College. Lake Forest, Illinois. Received prizes as the outstanding freshman and as the Outstanding Senior- President of Student Government, Managing Editor of College newspaper. Editor of Yearbook and College Scholar. MBA Amos Tuck School Dartmouth College in Finance. CIVIC: Formerly the Connecticut State Finance Chairman for Republican Party. Served two terms as director, then President and finally Chairman of the Boys & Girts Club of Greenwich. Just completed second and final term as a trustee of Lake Forest College. Has also served on the board of the Greenwich Land Trust, the Republican Town Committee, and was President of the Board of the Putnam Indian Field School and Chairman of the Properties Commission for Christ Church. He was Campaign manager for a U.S. Senate race and as Chairman of a successful race for State Treasurer.

Russell Fraker

Russell Fraker is an associate at the original environmental law firm, Beveridge & Diamond, PC, in Washington, DC, where he works on domestic, Canadian and Latin American issues. Raised by wildlife biologist parents in western Canada and Alaska, Russell spent much of his youth in remote areas, including several summers in Inuvialuit whaling camps. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Russell worked as a biologist, environmental consultant, commercial fisheries observer, and marine liaison for undersea cables, and in the late 1990s was the National Forest Foundation’s original program manager. A speaker of Portuguese and Spanish and a dedicated traveler, he has worked in over a dozen Latin American countries. Russell has degrees from Reed College, Yale University and Vanderbilt University Law School. He lives in Elkridge, Maryland, with his wife, Johns Hopkins University professor Daniela Barbosa, and their four sons, Mark, Daniel, Alex and Patrick.

W. Grant Gregory, Sr.

W. Grant Gregory, Sr. founded Gregory & Hoenemeyer, Inc., a merchant banking and LBO firm headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. He has particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, LBOs, IPOs, the design of new financial instruments, strategies to increase shareholder value, organization, human resources management and corporate finance. Mr. Gregory retired as Chairman of the Board after completing 24 years with Touche Ross & Co. He developed first-hand business experience in a wide range of industries and countries while servicing the 100 largest clients. Upon becoming Chairman of Touche Ross, Gregory was charged with the responsibility of insuring the firm’s U.S. performance. Mr. Gregory graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska in 1964, where he was later awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, as well as The Builder Award, the University’s highest non-academic recognition. He has completed advanced management courses at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business, at New York University, and attended the Air Force War College. An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Gregory’s special interests include golf, wildlife habitat management, skiing, sporting clays, fly-fishing and Labradors. Mr. Gregory is a member of the Blind Brook Club, Round Hill Club, GlenArbor Golf Club, The Links Club, Clove Valley, and Round Hill Community Church. Mr. Gregory, his wife, and family reside in Greenwich, Connecticut and Buffalo, Wyoming.

Spencer B. Haber

Spencer B. Haber is Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of H/2 Capital Partners, a multi-billion dollar alternative investment management business in real estate. Mr. Haber was responsible for the Firm's formation, and oversees all aspects of the H/2 funds' investment, financing and risk management activities, with a primary emphasis on identifying and evaluating potential investments and managing risk. Mr. Haber was formerly President and a member of the Board of Directors of iStar Financial Inc. (NYSE: SFI), the largest independent commercial real estate finance company in the U.S. Having spent the past 18 years active across all aspects of real estate capital markets and investment finance, Mr. Haber is a recognized industry figure and has structured, originated or invested in a wide array of structured and corporate real estate fixed income instruments. Over that time, he has also developed wide-ranging relationships with the major market participants in the finance and real estate industries, and is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences, panels and other events. Mr. Haber holds a bachelors degree in economics summa cum laude and a masters degree in business administration from the Wharton School, where he graduated a Palmer Scholar. Mr. Haber is a member of various industry associations, including the Pension Real Estate Association, Urban Land Institute, Commercial Mortgage Securities Association, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and Wharton Real Estate Center. Mr. Haber lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, and is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Bruce Museum and the Greenwich Land Trust.

Daniel J. Jirón

Daniel J. Jirón became Regional Forester of the Rocky Mountain Region in March 2012. As Regional Forester he is responsible for the administration of over 22 million acres in 17 National Forests and 7 National Grasslands, as well as cooperative efforts with state and private landowners in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Prior to his current position Mr. Jirón served as the Deputy Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses 20 million acres of National Forest System Lands in California, and includes 18 National Forests as well as conservation programs in Hawaii, and the affiliated Islands of the United States. In addition, Mr. Jirón served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service Representative on the Board of Directors for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and as Chair of the Lake Tahoe Regional Executives. In previous assignments, Mr. Jirón served as Forest Supervisor of the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico and as a Trustee for the Valles Caldera National Preserve also in New Mexico. He also served as the National Press Officer and Agency Spokesman in Washington, D.C.; Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs for the Intermountain Region in Ogden, Utah; District Ranger on the Salt Lake Ranger District, Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah; and South Park Ranger District, Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands in Colorado. Mr. Jirón also served as an aide to United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. Mr. Jirón earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Colorado State University in 1986 and a Master’s Degree from Regis University of Denver in 1997.

Craig Mackey

Craig Mackey is a public affairs and government relations consultant based in Golden, CO. Mr. Mackey serves as the national public policy liaison for Outward Bound Wilderness. Outward Bound is a 501(c)3, wilderness/adventure education organization serving young people and adults from across the United States and around the world. As policy liaison, Mr. Mackey works with Congress; the federal land agencies; conservation, recreation, and education NGOs; and the outdoor industry on policy and partnerships related to wilderness and public lands. Mr. Mackey is a consultant to the Outdoor Industry Association in negotiations with the State of Utah on outdoor recreation and protection of wilderness-quality lands left vulnerable by an April 2003 settlement between the state and the Department of the Interior. Mr. Mackey is a member of the National Leadership Council of the National Forest Foundation. He has 24 years experience in politics, government relations and public affairs. He is a founder of the Alliance for Wilderness Education and Stewardship [Outward Bound, Wilderness Inquiry, National Outdoor Leadership School, Student Conservation Association]; a member of the Government Affairs Committee of Leave No Trace, Inc.; and the Board of Governors of Outward Bound Wilderness. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Industry Association (formerly ORCA); as chair of OIA’s Government Affairs Committee; and as a member of the Fixed Anchors in Wilderness Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee.

David McIntyre

David McIntyre is a retired paper industry executive and was born in Munising, Michigan on the south shore of Lake Superior. His life long love of the outdoors began there and it was the opportunity to be outdoors and in the forest that attracted him to a career in the paper industry. Little did he know that a large portion of his career would be in New York City! He retired from Westvaco Corporation in 2002 where he was Group Vice President and General Manager of their Packaging Group. He also served as their Senior Vice President of Operations. David previously worked for Bowater Incorporated as Senior Vice President of Operations and prior to that worked in various technical and manufacturing positions with St. Regis, Champion, and Hammermill corporations. David earned his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also completed the Stanford University Executive Program. He served in many industry associations and was Chairman of the University of Maine Pulp and Paper Foundation, and on the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Paper Science and Technology. He and his wife Barbara (who he met skiing) enjoy skiing, hiking, biking, boating, and fishing (mostly by David) and spend a remarkable amount of time in our National Forests. They reside on Dewees Island, South Carolina.

Jim Peña

Jim Peña is the Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region, Portland, Oregon. In this capacity, he is responsible for the management of over 25 million acres of national forest lands in the states of Oregon and Washington. Prior to assuming this position Jim was the Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System in the National Headquarters where he provided leadership at the national level for the National Forest System programs of Forest Management, Range Management, Engineering, Recreation/Heritage/Volunteer Programs, and Watershed/Fish/Wildlife/Air/Rare Plants. Jim has also served as the Deputy Regional Forester for State and Private Forestry in the Pacific Southwest Region. He brings experience from multiple agency wide special assignments such as Acting Director of Human Capital Management, agency liaison to Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment, the reengineering team for Human Resources, and the National Fire Management Review. He has held line officer positions as forest supervisor, deputy forest supervisor and district ranger beginning in 1991 in California, Oregon and Washington. Jim began his career with the Forest Service as a forester trainee on the Rogue River National Forest in 1978. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelors of Science in forest resource management. Jim is a member of the Society of American Foresters. Jim has moved to the Portland, Oregon area with his wife Debbie and their two sons.

Beth Pendleton

Beth Pendleton has been the Alaska Regional Forester since March 2010. As Regional Forester, Pendleton oversees management of more than 22 million acres of National Forest System lands in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. She works closely with the region’s diverse stakeholders and communities of interest, especially on issues related to forest restoration and strengthening rural community health. Pendleton has worked in natural resources, coast-to-coast, for more than 25 years. Her experience in both the public and private sectors make her well qualified for her role as regional forester. Previously, she served in several key positions in the Alaska Region, including Deputy Regional Forester for Operations; Director for Recreation, Lands and Minerals and team leader for the 1997 Tongass Forest Plan Revision. She worked as Program Manager for Wildlife and Fisheries in the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. and in short-term assignments as Rocky Mountain Region Deputy Regional Forester and as Pacific Southwest Research Station Director. Pendleton served as Deputy Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region for four years. Early in her career, Pendleton worked for the National Wildlife Federation’s Institute for Wildlife Research in Washington, D.C., as managing editor of scientific and technical publications. She holds a bachelor’s in wildlife biology from the University of Vermont, a master’s in wildlife and fisheries from South Dakota State University and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wyoming. She is also a graduate of Harvard’s Senior Executive Fellows Program and American University’s Key Leadership program. The Tongass and Chugach are the two largest single National Forests in the nation. The Tongass National Forest stretches the 500-mile length of the Alaska Panhandle. The Chugach National Forest makes the 210-mile arc around Prince William Sound. The beauty and bounty of these forests draw attention from around the nation and the world.

Randy Peterson

Randy J Peterson has recently retired from Land’s End where he was Vice President and led the Engineering, Corporate Services and Sustainability groups for over 15 years. During that period Randy provided leadership for a diverse group responsible for global facilities (planning, design & construction/project management, real estate), process/systems engineering, administrative services and enterprise wide sustainability. Randy also currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Clean Lakes Alliance in Madison, Wisconsin. With over 25 years of increasingly responsible engineering, project management and corporate leadership roles with companies such as Northrop Grumman, McDonnell Douglas, and Sperry; Randy brought to Lands' End and the Clean Lake Alliance a variety of experiences, and knowledge of some leading practices in industrial engineering, facilities management, accountable leadership, and corporate social responsibility. Currently, Randy is the Principle consultant for LRP Consultants LLC.

Randy possesses a B.S. from the College of Engineering, Arizona State University an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, Lake Forest, Illinois, and a professional certification for Georgia Institute of Technology in Supply Chain and Logistics.

An avid sportsman, Randy enjoys fishing in any of Wisconsin's many lakes and golfing pretty much anywhere around the country. He and his wife Linda enjoy traveling to exciting places in the U.S. and abroad. They have three adult-aged children who all lead very successful careers of their own.

Tony Tooke

Tony Tooke is the Regional Forester for the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service, based in Atlanta, GA. He has worked for the Forest Service since age 18, including many assignments in Region 8 and the Washington Office (WO). He is responsible for 2,600 employees, an annual budget exceeding $380 million, 14 national forests, and two managed areas, which encompass more than 13.3 million acres in 13 states and Puerto Rico. Prior to Regional Forester, Tony served in Washington, DC as Associate Deputy Chief for the National Forest System; with oversight of Lands and Realty, Minerals and Geology, Ecosystem Management Coordination, Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers, the National Partnership Office, and Business Administration and Support Services. From June of 2014 through January 2015, he served as Acting Chief of Staff. As Associate Deputy Chief, Tony was the Forest Service Executive Lead for Environmental Justice; Farm Bill implementation; and implementation of the Inventory, Monitoring, and Assessment Improvement Strategy. Other priorities included implementation of a new planning rule for the National Forest System as well as improving NEPA implementation to accomplish increased ecological restoration work across the National Forest System. Other Washington Office assignments included the Director for Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC), Deputy Director for Economic Recovery, and Assistant Director for Forest Management. As EMC Director he lead efforts to develop the agency’s 2012 planning rule and as Assistant Director for Forest Management he directed national efforts on re-forestation, program integration, ecosystem services, forest restoration, and climate change.

Tony also served as Deputy Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in Florida as well as District Ranger assignments at the Talladega NF in Alabama, the Oconee NF in Georgia, and the DeSoto NF in Mississippi. His other field assignments were Timber Management Assistant, other Resource Assistant, Silviculturist, and Forester on six Ranger Districts in Mississippi and Kentucky.

He grew up on a small farm in Detroit, AL and earned a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Mississippi State University. He was in the Forest Service’s inaugural class of the Senior Leadership Program, and he completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program.

Leslie Weldon

Leslie Weldeon is currently the Director of External Affairs located within the Office of the Chief for the US Forest Service in Washington D.C. and assumed this Senior Executive Service leadership role in June, 2007. From June 2000 through June 2007, Leslie served as Forest Supervisor for the Deschutes National Forest in Bend, Oregon. An Air Force kid, Leslie was born in 1961 in Pullman, WA, lived over seas and in several states, but raised primarily in Oxon Hill, Maryland, outside of Washington, DC. Her choice of natural resources as a career was greatly influenced by two high school summers working with the Youth Conservation Corps working on the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwest Virginia. From 1998 – 2000, Leslie served as Executive Policy Assistant to Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck. Prior to this assignment, Leslie served with the Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry as Forest Service Liaison to the US Army Environmental Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Leslie served as District Ranger on the Stevensville Ranger District, Bitterroot National Forest from 1992 – 1996 where she led extensive local public involvement program to implement collaborative, ecosystem-based management of forestlands adapted to fire. Special assignments have included co-chair of the Forest Service National Workforce Diversity Conference in 1990, coordinator of the Forest Service International Programs “Sister Forest” partnership between the Bitterroot National Forest and Nahuel Huapi and Lanin National Parks in Patagonia, Argentina in 1996. She has participated on numerous national and international technical and policy review teams, including leading the US Delegation at the recent 5th Ministerial Conference on Forest in Europe. All of her work has involved identifying shared goals and working closely with partners from academia, conservation and environmental groups, community groups, local government, and natural resource related businesses. She is committed to workforce diversity, leadership development and civil rights.

Her other positions have included: Assistant National Fisheries Program Manager (87-89), Washington Office, Regional Staff Biologist (89-91), Missoula, MT. Leslie’s positions have given her leadership experience and exposure to all aspects of Forest Service programs and management from national to local levels. Leslie served on several boards and organizations including local Roman Catholic Churches, Bend High Desert Rotary Club (05-06 President), Heritage Theatre Company (06-07 President), The High Desert Museum (02-07 federal liaison) and on the Deschutes United Way and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Boards. She currently works with the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and the National Forest Foundation Advisory Council.