Steve has been a pioneer in the North American Mass Timber Movement. He capped his nearly 42-year career with the U.S. Forest Service by founding the Wood Innovations Program in 2013 and leading that program through 2019. Following his federal role, Steve spent a little over a year with SmartLam a manufacturer of cross laminated timber before establishing Mass Timber Strategy.
During his decades with the Forest Service, Steve held a wide number of positions including playing leadership roles in two separate Presidential Initiatives. One of those delivered $1.2 billion in economic recovery efforts in the Pacific Northwest and the other dealt with long-term protection of 50 million acres of roadless areas across the U.S.
Other highlights include development of a highly successful leadership development program for the Agency, a Congressional Fellowship, outreach to under-served communities, and strengthening the Agency’s Urban & Committee Forestry program. This work took him to all 50 states and 8 countries.
Steve initiated the Forest Service’s concentrated focus on Mass Timber beginning in August of 2013. One of his first actions was media outreach so that when the work became visible there would already be an understanding in key media regarding the merits of Mass Timber. During this period he worked quite closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture which oversees the Forest Service to gain a high level of support for the work. Among other things, this led to the 2014 White House Rural Council workshop “Building with Wood: Jobs and the Environment". It was at that workshop that the U.S. Tall Wood Building Competition was announced which Steve had played an instrumental role in creating.
Under Steve’s leadership, Wood Innovations provided tens of millions of dollars to support the development on a U.S. mass timber sector. Investments covered a wide range of activities from planning some of the initial buildings, funding needed materials testing, support to the first generation of production facilities, and extensive training for architects, engineers, and developers. Broad investments included WoodWorks, the Timber City Exhibition at the National Building Museum, and the initial Mass Timber Conference held in Portland Oregon which continues to this day.
Perhaps the greatest recognition for Wood Innovations was when it was incorporated into the 2018 Farm Bill giving it elevated standing as federal program. The program has been fortunate in enjoying strong bi-partisan support.
Today Steve works with a wide array of partners working to strengthen the Mass Timber sector and help link sustainable building construction with sustainable forest management.