Jay Sullivan, professor of forestry economics and management, has been named head of Virginia Tech’sDepartment of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

“Dr. Sullivan emerged from an extremely strong applicant pool, and I’m especially pleased that we have identified new leadership from within the department,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

“Jay knows our strengths, our challenges, and our aspirations and had the strong support of the search committee as well as department faculty and staff,” Winistorfer continued. “The department is a North American leader and internationally renowned. Dr. Sullivan has the best attributes of leadership to help continue a positive, productive, and collegial environment that allows the department and the college to be their very best at teaching, research, and outreach.”

Sullivan earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management and a master’s degree in forest economics from Colorado State University. His doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley focused on the economic impacts of forest and natural resources management and examined the impacts of timber harvest policies in California national forests on local forest-based communities.

Sullivan came to Virginia Tech in 1988, strengthening the department’s specialization in forest resource management and economics. He had served as interim head of the department since May 2015.

His research activities encompass Virginia’s most compelling natural resources issues, including bioenergy, southern pine beetle treatment, mined lands, and sustainable carbon management. The recipient of a number of teaching awards, Sullivan has taught forest resource economics and management courses, a senior capstone course, and forest carbon inventory field labs.

“This is a rewarding time to be a part of our field, with forests, environment, and water more than ever at the forefront of ongoing discussions of ecological, social, and economic well-being at regional, national, and global levels,” Sullivan said.

“In the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, we enjoy a passionate and productive faculty, unmatched Extension faculty and associates, an outstanding staff support team, engaged students, and active and dedicated stakeholders,” he continued. “I am honored to be able to serve as department head, and I can’t imagine a role where I could have a greater impact on our profession and on the future of our students.”

Sullivan intends to continue to build on the strong foundation established by his predecessor, Janaki Alavalapati, who is now dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Science at Auburn University. “My vision for the department is to continue to develop our culture of growth, seeking to grow our enrollment, our commitment to achieving diversity in our student and faculty ranks, and our global reputation as thought leaders in the science and practice of our field,” Sullivan said. “I hope to guide us in continuing to serve our students, the commonwealth, and clientele through our strong leadership role in matters of forestry and the environment.”

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