Alumni Updates - Summer 2021

Alumni Updates, Summer 2021

Ken Guenther | BS/MS ‘50 

My daughter and I are developing a 5 acre tract in Portland, Oregon. The site has been in the family for 55 years. It is a south-facing 30% sloped property that was partially logged in the late 1800s. There are about a dozen up to 60 inch DBH doug fir. The balance of the forest cover is volunteer big leaf maple and lots of invasive English hawthorn. The approved plan is 1 acre for a 20-unit condo development balanced with 4 acres for establishing a climax forest of doug fir.

We will be planting 500 doug fir seedlings and 400 oregon grape shrubs. There is a lot of ivy and hawthorn to deal with prior to planting, which will hopefully be this winter. It’s an opportunity to convert mixed hardwoods to a climax stand of doug fir. I planted two sequoia seedlings on this site 50 years ago that are now 30 inch DBH. The future forest will be a tribute to the land.


Bill Siegel, BS ‘54, MS ‘57

I graduated in June 1954 and had an Air Force ROTC commission. Since the Korean War was over, there was a delay before going on active duty. I returned to MSU in Sept. 1954 with a graduate teaching assistantship and began work under Lee James for a masters in forest economics. I went on active duty with the Air Force in June 1955, serving until September 1957. I returned to MSU in that month to finish my thesis, receiving my M.S. in December 1957. I immediately went to work for the U.S. Forest Service as timber management assistant on the Raven District of the Sam Houston National Forest in Texas. 

Toward the end of 1958 I transferred to the Southern Forest Experiment Station in New Orleans as a forest economist where I stayed, retiring in 1993. I received a law degree at night and served for many years as  Project Leader for the Forest  Service’s National Law and Economics Research Unit. 

After retiring I began work as a consultant/attorney specializing in timber and forest products law, taxation and estate planning. I  still work on a limited basis. I was privileged to be elected and serve as President of the Society of American Foresters in 1995. My  “significant other” Barbara and I enjoy outdoor activities and traveling (both in the U.S. and overseas). In the last few years we have been to Chile, Russia, Turkey 

and Israel among other places.


J. David Estola |  BS ‘60

When I attended MSU, the Department of Forestry curriculum choices were industrial forestry for managing private lands or multiple use forestry for managing public forest lands. I chose industrial forestry. However, as it turned out, I ended up working for a public agency the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

In 1962, I began my career at a district office in Eugene, Oregon which at that time was one of five Oregon and California (O&C) BLM offices.

During the first half of my 29 ½ year career, I worked primarily in the field in the Eugene district on a variety of timber management assignments including timber sale layout, timber measurement and appraisal, contract preparation and contract administration.

In the second half, I was stationed in Denver, CO, Washington, D.C., and Portland, OR. My duties mainly included providing timber management support for BLM district offices having commercial timber lands in eight western USA states. I retired in 1989.


Terry Read I BS ‘66, MS ‘67 

After doing our Forest Service career, we have been doing private consulting in Iron County and surrounding area for the last 25 years. I work pretty much seven days a week but of course take off most of November for deer hunting and lately the month of June we head out west to escape the famous bug month of the UP. We spend some time at our place at Perch Lake but usually to work.


Carl Working | BS ‘72

Carl is now retired and a sub teacher in Owensboro, KY.  He sold his lake properties in Santa Claus, IN and home in Louisville, KY where they raised two children and took care of parents until they passed away. He travels south in the winter and rents a cottage each July on Lake Huron.

He still loves forests and tries to visit them – they traveled to New Zealand and Australia before the pandemic.  He also went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and stopped in Fiji for a visit.

Carl visited campus to see his old dorm but it was all under renovation so he did a self tour seeing so many changes! Thanks for the memories. 


Debra East | BS ‘76

I will be retiring on August 31, 2021, after 15 years in NOLS Wilderness Medicine Admissions, most of that time in a managerial role. Prior to Covid-19, in the academic year of 2019, Wilderness Medicine trained 25,000 people worldwide in wilderness medicine emergency care. I had the pleasure of connecting with MSU graduates from Natural Resources and the School of Osteopathic Medicine participating in the courses.


Gregory Reighard | PHD ‘84

After receiving my doctorate under Dr. James Hanover, I worked briefly for the Southern Tree Improvement Cooperative in Gainesville, Florida.  From there I took a tenure track position at Clemson University in Horticulture and have been there for 36 years conducting research with peaches.  In the past 3 years, I did a stint as Department Chair, then retired as Professor Emeritus, and now am back working off grants.  

I have been able to work in more than 30 countries and see the diverse forest ecosystems across the planet during my business travels.  I was elected a Fellow in both the American and International Societies for Horticultural Science so I can’t complain as I got to work with trees and get paid to do it too.  I love the southern Appalachian Mountains and my children are M.D.s so I am content at Clemson and have a good football team to follow in my spare time.  However, I do come to Michigan to fly fish for salmon and always enjoy seeing the many beautiful rivers, lakes and farms as well as visiting the MSU campus.


Chuck Nelson | PHD ‘88

I graduated with a Ph. D. in Forestry in 1988 with Dr. Lee James as my major professor. From 1979-2020, I was a faculty member at MSU in what is now the Department of Community Sustainability. My focus was on natural resource recreation management, policy and law enforcement. This included teaching over 5,000 students, directing the MSU Park Law Enforcement and Ranger Training Institute for 18 years, being the department internship coordinator since 2008 (still doing this in summers during retirement) and working on a wide variety of applied research projects for and with state and federal natural resource agencies.

 Retirement was not the celebration it usually is due to COVID, but I am enjoying growing food, timber, wildlife and environmental quality on lands and waters in MI and ND, serving on a variety of governmental and non-profit boards and having fun with my wife Susan and sons Mike and Dan.


James Gray | MS ‘08

James continues to expand Natural Capital Forestry, an East Lansing -based forestry consulting company serving clients throughout the southern lower penninsula. The consultancy is fulfilling increased demand for ecological silviculture, whereby ecosystem integrity, climate resilience and improvement of structural and compositional diversity for wildlife habitat are the clients’ primary objectives. Higher ed clients can obtain a combined greenhouse gas inventory, forest carbon inventory and forest management plan to reach the next level of campus sustainability. Recently, James joined the steering committee of the Forestry for Michigan Birds initiative and remains active as a Regional Chair on the Michigan Tree Farm Committee. 

Did you find this article useful?

Other Articles from this Publication