Forest Products Specialist

Classification: Forester - Advanced
Working Title: Forest Products Specialist
Location: District field office to be determined

POSITION SUMMARY: The Forest Products Specialist provides statewide technical assistance and technology transfer expertise to a variety of stakeholders including businesses as well as internal and external customers to support and grow Wisconsin's forest products industry in assigned program areas. Program areas include forest products utilization and marketing support; domestic, international, and emerging forest products market and business development; manufacturing process improvement; carbon markets; renewable energy and woody biomass; impacts of invasive species related to wood markets; and related policy development on emerging issues. Areas of program expertise evolve with emerging issues in forest products.

This position develops detailed knowledge of the forest resource and forest products industry in Wisconsin and is a key internal and external consultant for staff, leadership, inter-divisional teams, and partner groups. This position maintains cutting-edge knowledge and expertise by staying abreast of current research and maintaining an effective professional network. The customer base for this position is Wisconsin forest businesses, state agencies, economic development and industry trade organizations, Division staff, as well as colleagues throughout the Department and corresponding programs in the US Forest Service and other states.

The Forest Products Specialist provides excellent customer service and face-to-face interactions with members of Wisconsin's forest products industry to foster job growth, job retention, and industry expansion.

LOCATION, GEOGRAPHIC SCOPE & TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS: This position is headquartered in a district field office to be determined. Frequent travel throughout the state and periodic travel nationally and internationally is required.

SCOPE OF AUTHORITY: This position works under the general supervision of the Forest Products Services Team Leader, in the Bureau of Applied Forestry. The position is part of the Forest Products Services Team and works with the statewide Rural and Urban Forest Resource Analyst and three other Forest Products Specialists.


A. Business Development

  • Provide statewide forest product assistance in assigned program areas as requested by forest products businesses, other state agencies (e.g. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture), communities, and partners.
  • Coordinate and conduct feasibility studies. Assess customer needs and compare with potential plant locations and suppliers. Review business plans and plant designs for new forest product business start-ups and plant expansions.
  • Identify prospective businesses by using business directories, following leads from existing clients, participating in organizations, and attending trade shows and conferences.
  • Serves as lead and point of contact for statewide forest products industry supply chains and distribution strategies. Identify, establish, develop, and monitor regional supply chain networks.
  • Conduct or coordinate manufacturing process efficiency studies based on continuous process improvement strategy (such as LEAN manufacturing) or other business process improvement systems. Assist forest products companies to improve their competitiveness and market positioning.
  • Collaboratively conduct the Timber Product Output Survey (TPO) and analysis. Compile, interpret and provide roundwood and forest by-product supply information within Wisconsin.
  • Collaboratively manage the Wisconsin Wood Using Industry Directory. Lead the development, production, and distribution of Wisconsin's primary, secondary, and other forest product industry lists.
  • Coordinate, develop, edit, and publish outreach material as a service to businesses and partners.
  • Distribute information about grant opportunities and help implement grants or contracts.

B. Market Development

  • Develop and maintain information on current and potential markets for Wisconsin's forest products, changes in utilization standards, market conditions, product innovations, prices, and sales.
  • Provide information about wood products, prices, availability, and product uses to statewide and regional partners.
  • Identify, develop, implement, and evaluate regional marketing strategies, based on knowledge of establishment objectives, market characteristics, and cost and markup factors.
  • Monitor and investigate new markets. Provide expert guidance for new market development (e.g. woody biomass, mass timber, biochemicals, and forest carbon).
  • Develop plans for export market development. Provide assistance with international trade missions for business development.
  • Formulate, direct, and coordinate marketing activities and policies to promote Wisconsin wood products at the state, national, and global scales.
  • Align existing businesses with potential partner groups and opportunities.
  • Assist communities and businesses with wood utilization and marketing plans to mitigate the impacts of invasive species (e.g. Emerald Ash Borer and Gypsy Moth)
  • Contribute to the production and development of promotional materials as a service to businesses and partners. Direct and coordinate regional marketing activities and policies to promote wood products. Market the environmental advantages of wood products over substitutes.

C. Provide Technical Assistance and Collaborate in the Development of Training & Technology Transfer

  • Provide statewide technical assistance to the forest industry including the introduction of new technology and manufacturing practices.
  • Determine what information and skills customers and department staff need to be successful. Identify audiences needing training. Coordinate and facilitate learning/training opportunities throughout the state. Help other professionals to develop, implement, and evaluate training sessions.
  • Provide instruction to a variety of audiences and customer groups on needed subject matter (i.e. short courses and workshops on log and lumber grading, workplace safety, etc.).

D. Policy Development

  • Collaborate on the development of policy related to emerging issues such as labor availability, transportation, life cycle analysis, ecological services (e.g. carbon markets), renewable energy, woody biomass, and invasive species impacts on wood markets.
  • Assist with the development of legislation, rules, issue briefs, and budget initiatives. Provide responses to legislative inquiries and letters to the Secretary. Develop and present expert testimony when requested.
  • Prepare and present confidential reports and issue briefs that provide counsel to Division Leadership for program direction and assist with problem solving.

E. Internal and External Partnerships and Teams

  • Represent the Division of Forestry on region-specific internal and external multi-stakeholder teams, committees, and task forces as directed and provide expert consultation.
  • Develop and maintain effective working relationships with regional partners. Act as a liaison for partner groups including industry organizations and associations.
  • Develop and maintain an effective working relationship with the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, UW-Extension and other UW systems forest products specialists and wood scientists including proposing new research and communicating research results.
  • Ensure that Division of Forestry staff fully understand and appreciate the importance of industry markets to support sustainable forestry practices.

F. Performance Management

  • Collaboratively develop and recommend measures of success for the Forest Products Services Team
  • Collect and analyze data to measure success of the forest products services program.
  • Collect and analyze data to measure success of Wisconsin's forest products industries.
  • Report results of performance measurement to leadership, to affected staff, and to the forestry community.
  • Collaboratively recommend adaptations to improve performance as needed.


Upon Appointment:
  1. Knowledge of the principles and practices of sustainable forest management.
  2. Knowledge and skill related to business management principles and practices.
  3. Knowledge of basic safety practices in the forest products industry.
  4. Knowledge of log and lumber grades and wood measurement.
  5. Knowledge of log grade as it relates to value (mill and delivered stumpage).
  6. Oral and written communication skills.
Full Performance:
  1. Skill in providing consultation services to businesses or organizations.
  2. Knowledge and skill in developing policies.
  3. Knowledge of forest product raw material resources required of traditional supply chain logistics, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods, including manufacturing process improvement and its application.
  4. Knowledge and skill related to the principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  5. Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices with an emphasis on cost accounting, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  6. Knowledge of wood drying practices.
  7. Knowledge of log and lumber grading and scaling techniques for hardwood and softwood log and lumber grading and pulpwood scaling.
  8. Knowledge of logging systems and techniques.
  9. Knowledge of forest products production assessment methods and quality control techniques.
  10. Knowledge of statistical process control techniques used in mill trouble shooting.
  11. Knowledge of Wisconsin's forest products industry and forest resource.
  12. Knowledge of all Department programs and policies and programs applicable to Division programs, including statutes, rules, handbooks, policies.
  13. Knowledge of forestry interests within the state.


Physical requirements include talking in front of groups, sitting for long periods of time, lifting and carrying 5 to 30 lb., and the endurance required for extended mill visits and field tours. Environmental factors include working indoors in an office setting and independently traveling to offices around the state.

Sedentary work (exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force) for 85% of the time.

Light lifting (exerting up to 30 pounds of force occasionally) for 10% of the time; requires the ability to bend and lift.

Moderate to heavy lifting for 5% of the time for log and lumber grading.

Equipment Used: Computers, PDA, projectors, virtual meeting software, fax machine, calculator, copy machine, telephone, scaling sticks appropriate for log and lumber grading.


Based on an assessment of the goals and work activities, this position may be eligible for telework. Telework approval is based on individual circumstances and is subject to supervisor approval and DNR telework policies. Approval is subject to change without notice based on business needs.

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posted: 30 November 2021     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.