Mentor Bios

Ashish Mohan

I graduated from UBC in Forest Sciences and had an incredibly positive undergrad experience due to the campus culture, the great people of the Forestry faculty, and the amazing friends I made. Despite this, I still came out of school confused as to what I wanted to do and what the possible career options were. Years later, I’ve now worked for startups, NGO’s, federal government, and municipalities. I also went onto complete an MSc and am pleased to say I am working in my field of study. I am still looking to gain new skills and expand my horizons, but I would love to provide advice and a sense of scope to the next generation of forward thinkers.

Ben Romanchych

Ben is a Business Analyst with FPInnovations’ Business Intelligence Group. In his current role at FPInnovations, Ben has consulted with some of North America’s largest forest products companies and industry associations. Prior to his position at FPInnovations, Ben has held positions at Interfor Corporation, Metrie (formerly Sauder Industries), and Forte Millwork Inc. Ben holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia’s Wood Products Processing Program. Ben and his team at FPInnovations provide market intelligence for clients through the combination of data analytics and industry experience, creating actionable insights.

Bev Ramney

Bev Ramney enjoyed a career as park planner with Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) for 15 years where she oversaw the creation of such regional parks as Minnekhada and Pacific Spirit. The past 20 years of her life she has volunteered (as Board member and/or president) with the nature education and conservation non-profit organizations: Nature Vancouver, BC Nature (Federation of British Columbia Naturalists), BC Naturalists’ Foundation and Pacific Spirit Park Society. Her focus activities include: wetlands, Fraser lowlands, and grasslands. She has contributed to park creation, local community awareness, support for natural areas and to citizen science projects such as the Breeding Bird Atlas. She volunteers as park host in a northern BC Provincial Park, Ecological Reserve Warden, and undertakes invasive species removal in Southern Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

Brendan Guy

Brendan Guy holds a bachelor of science in natural resources conservation from the University of British Columbia and a master’s in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Brendan works for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an international environmental non-profit organization, based in Washington, D.C. Brendan manages NRDC’s engagement on international climate change policy, helping to orchestrate countries, states, cities, and businesses to take action to deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement.

Dallin Brooks

My greatest attribute is living through the entire forest lifecycle. I was raised on a hunting and fishing resort in northcentral BC, where we utilized the renewable forest for food, recreation and tourism. I have worked in the forest as a logger, moose guide and tree planter. I have processed wood in mills and for doors and moldings as a UBC Wood Products Processing Co-op student. I have worked for a sawmill equipment manufacturer in Finland and as a small business owner of a thermal modification kiln. I also have worked with Canada’s national wood products research organization, Forintek, analyzing markets for wood products before going on to do a Masters at UBC in Forests and Society. Now I am the Executive Director at the Western Wood Preservers Institute representing the wood preservative industry where we deal with marketing, regulatory and legislative issues, such as sustainable use, safe disposal and energy generation.

David Jones

David completed a Post Doc at SFU and one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Biology Dept at SFU. After which he left the academic life to accept a position as a charter entrant in a new field as a Professional Environmental Consultant. He believes that incremental change from within industrial and commercial practices of the day offer the best opportunity to halt the gradual degeneration of the environment after only 300 years or so of uncontrolled industrial and commercial growth. He set out on this career first at Sandwell Engineering Ltd a local forestry and mine engineering company and continuously from then to now in a variety of staff consulting and ownership roles in the lively activity of participating in changing the actions of business in a myriad of small ways that lead to bigger ways until today is a time when all business must consider the environment as an essential part of its business success and survival.
David is presently working on commercialization of natural oils from trees. Identifying and evaluating markets for second generation products made from recycled Styrofoam wastes. The development of an integrated urban farm located in Burnaby to be constructed around the provision of fresh organic vegetables from natural soils and hydroponics, with fresh fish supplied from onsite aquaculture, all intended for gourmet markets in Vancouver and beyond. The use of modified wood cellulose as a high energy green supplement for coal and oil fuels.

Danielle Piezas

Hailing from the Philippine tropics, Dannie brings the experience of birds and geckos in the house and camping in the rainforest. Her love for living things flourished in the move to Canada through UBC’s Natural Resource Conservation B.Sc. program, bird surveys in Ladner, fending off polar bears in the high Arctic, and all manner of invasive species wrangling in between. The Forestry department’s Cooperative Placement Program allowed her to consider several career possibilities in environmental work. Dannie found a calling to nature interpretation through summer work with A Rocha Canada, and the tireless work of connecting people with nature stuck with her since. She joined Stanley Park Ecology Society mid-2016 and is thankful for the grandest workplace in the world–right in the heart of Vancouver.

Emily Sunter

I gradguated from UBC Forestry with a degree in Forest Sciences in 2015. During my undergraduate degree, I was a part of many groups/programs on campus including the Forestry Undergraduate Society, the Woman’s Resource Centre, Rotaract, sports teams, and undergraduate research. I also received an NSERC USRA, completed field research seasons with two different labs in Forestry, and wrote an undergraduate thesis using novel data on the relationship between woodpeckers and mountain pine beetles. Now as a graduate student at UBC Okanagan, I am studying human-large carnivore interactions in western Canada and investigating management practices to mitigate conflict funded through the Canada Graduate – Master’s NSERC. Apart from school, I have also traveled extensively in South America, worked for many years in animal welfare, volunteered with many different animal related organizations, and like to bake a lot of cakes.

Ernie Hamm

With a major in wood science and wood products manufacturing, I obtained employment with Forintek Canada Corp., now Forest Innovations, as a laboratory technician in timber engineering, lumber drying and resource evaluation. I eventually obtained the position of wood physics scientist and worked on lumber drying and non-destruction evaluation projects. After 22 years with Forest Innovations I obtained a position as an instructor at BCIT in their wood products manufacturing department where I taught courses in wood science properties as well as an introductory course in properties of metals and plastics. The program was designed for students planning a career in the wood products manufacturing industry as mill operators and sales and distribution of wood construction materials. After 9 years at BCIT I retired.

Garry Merkel

I am primarily a builder. I help build relationships, organizations and processes tailored to the unique characteristics and needs of the groups that I am working with. My objective is to help create something that helps those groups better shape their futures. Over the last 40 years some types of things that I have been involved in creating include businesses, schools, various land management arrangements, public policy, foundations, working relationships and governments. I am often sought out to help groups work through difficult situations in unknown territory. I use a variety of tools including negotiating, brokering, planning, facilitating, chairing, mediating, strategizing, managing, teaching or any other professional skill required for the situation.

Graeme Dick

Graeme Dick graduated with an MSc from the Faculty of Forestry in 2009 after completing the UBC, Wood Products Processing Co-op program in 2007. His work experience has ranged from optimization of strand based products to overseeing the technical capabilities of operations. Graeme has routinely transformed technical departments and laboratories into results oriented organizations. He is currently a Senior Technical Director for Weyerhaeuser’s Engineered Lumber business with oversight for the Canadian and Western US operations. He has been trained in and practices Six Sigma and is a member of the ASQ. He has experience effectively interacting with all levels of an organization, positioning oneself for advancement, and employing systematic techniques to problem solving.

Henning Larsen

I am not published and likely will not make it to a list of “rocket scientist” Foresters one-day; but whatever I have done, I’ve always lead with my heart and have put everything that I am into it! Hence, 3rd attempts at my ABCFP registration (… and at least 2 runs at my Applied Science course at university). There are 2 main personal categories, relative to my forestry experience: 1st) starting out as a BCIT technologist and then feeling the need for more and returning to university, to get 2nd) my UBC Forestry Degree. My experience in forestry spans the province: Mahatta River, Chetwynd, Harrison Mills, Woss / Englewood, Burns Lake, Houston, Quesnel, Decker Lake where I have been intimate with woodlands and sawmill operations staff and people and the folks that worked, lived and laughed together in all of those wonderful places. To have worked with, participated and lead in my endeavors for many good and meaningful years with those many folks was my blessing and an honour. I felt clear in my dual focus: attain the UBC forestry degree and to be a member of the association (i.e. ABCFP) like my marvelous mentors that I worked with in the CFP (i.e. Canadian Forest Products) in Chetwynd.

Jeffrey Liu

I graduated from UBC Wood Products Processing and currently work at Taiga Building Products in their Burnaby head office. I have been with them since my second year in UBC, working full time during the co-op terms and part time during the school year. I have been involved with multiple projects throughout the year and in a variety of positions ranging from logistics, analytics, procurement, and inventory management. The wide breadth of experiences Taiga has provided me, has served me well, and as a mentor I strive to share these experiences and lessons learnt from transitioning from the classroom into the workplace.

John Kuch

I am 60 years old and have been in the forest industry for the last 42 years. I started as a logger in 1972 eventually progressed through various logging jobs until I was badly injured in a logging accident in 1984. After that I returned to school and graduated from BCIT in 1989 from Wood Products Manufacturing. I moved to Merritt upon graduation and became shipper, planer supervisor, sawmill foreman and finally plant superintendent at the Tolko Nicola Sawmill. In 1993 I went to Field sawmills in Courtenay as plant superintendent. I left there in 1995 to become General Manager of Coulsons Manufacturing. I worked there from 1995 until 2012 doing everything from sales to personnel. Today I work for Trans Pacific Trading looking after the Western Red Cedar programs. I have various mills and remanufacturing facility working for my program. I am willing to share what knowledge I have with the students in the UBC program. I am passionate about this industry and believe these young people are the future.

I am married and have 3 children and just got 2 grandchildren. My 18-year-old daughter is enrolled in the Forestry Program at VIU.

Jovan Larre

Since graduating from Wood Product Processing with honours in 2003, I have been employed at Superior Cabinets in Saskatoon, Sk. where I have had the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills developed at UBC to a 50,000 square feet manufacturing facility. Initial work involved taking production from a large batch processing to a lean, small batch production process. This involved purchasing new machinery, redesigning the entire cutting department and implementing the new process flow. Further projects involved updating and expanding the finishing department including spray booths and a new flatline finishing line. The next major project I lead was the implementation of a new software system throughout manufacturing including an interface to sales order system, complete configuration of all products, machine interfaces, and implementation of bar code scanning on shop floor. Currently I am working on new product development and prototyping.

Ken Byrne

Ken is a RPF and has worked as a Senior Research Scientist at FPInnovations since 2012. He has more than 12 years of modelling and research experience in harvesting cost analyses, natural disturbance processes and the integration of factors affecting the forest products value and supply chains. Originally from North Vancouver, Ken received a Forestry Diploma from BCIT in 1998 and proceeded through a forestry education which formally ended with a PhD from UBC in 2011. His recent work includes the assessment of new techniques and equipment designed to address challenges to harvesting operations such as the mid-term timber supply, ground disturbance and log quality.

Louise Blight

Dr. Louise Blight’s professional background includes basic and applied research in marine and coastal systems; wildlife conservation and management; and natural resource policy. She has held senior or leadership roles in government (e.g., with Parks Canada) and non-governmental organizations, and also runs a private consulting company part-time. Her primary areas of interest include the biology and conservation of marine birds; the recovery of endangered species and their habitats; and communicating about conservation science to diverse audiences. Her work in these areas has taken her to many places and habitats, including South and Central America, Tasmania, the Panama Canal, remote Pacific islands, and Antarctica. Immediately after completing her PhD at UBC in 2012, Louise worked for two years as Senior Marine Science Officer at WWF-Canada. She currently works at the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in Victoria. Louise is also the Managing Editor of the open-access science journal Marine Ornithology, and is a member of the Birds Specialist Sub-Committee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

Montana Goddard

I graduated from UBC in 2014 with a degree in Forest Resources Management, specialization in Community and Aboriginal Forestry. I had previously done a study abroad while at University of Calgary in a similar field but in Latin America. I spent a semester studying the effects that natural resource extraction had on the indigenous population while in Peru. When I transferred to UBC I wanted to work in forestry so the FRM program spoke to me as I would come out of it eligible to get my RPF. My first summer I worked with Steve Mitchell and the team at the UBC Farm and focused on forestry-farm activities and agroforestry. My second summer I spent working in silviculture in Port Alberni with WFP. Once I graduated I migrated over to Campbell River and had spent a few years working there, this time, in forest engineering with Strategic Natural Resource Consultants. My main client there was a First Nation band in which we managed their full-phase forest licence. Since then, I have moved to Victoria and now working as a policy analyst in the Strategic Policy Branch for the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Here, most of my work deals with governance in treaty and non-treaty agreements as well as higher level policy work such as the treaty multilateral engagement process (which includes the FN Summit, BC, Canada and the BCTC) and UNDRIP.

Nadia Chan

Nadia has a B.S.F., Forest Operations from the University of British Columbia, is a Forester- in – training, an ISA Certified Arborist and an ISA Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. After graduating, Nadia took a position with a consulting firm doing silviculture field work in Northern BC. She then moved back to Vancouver to work for a local non-profit environmental organization. Since then, Nadia has worked for the City of Surrey in various positions, and is currently the Manager, Trees and Landscaping with the City’s Planning and Development Department. In addition to over 15 years of experience in urban forestry, Nadia is the Director of Public Outreach for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, a Director with the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia and sits on BCIT’s Forest and Natural Areas Management Program Advisory Committee

Neal Aven

When I graduated from the CONS program at UBC, my first job was with the Business Operations section of Surrey’s Parks Division. While I had always envisioned working in the field and getting my hands dirty, this role was almost entirely an office-based database and work management system administration role. It turns out I really enjoyed the work! The job provided me with valuable experience to build upon my formal education and also allowed me to stay connected with the ever-evolving realm of urban forestry in Surrey. Fast forward a decade and a half and, as Surrey’s Urban Forestry Manager, I can now state that I am working in the profession for which I went to school!

Nick Reinhardt

I was first hired by Chartwell Consultants in the summer of 2008 as an entry-level field engineer to aid in basic cutblock layout and design. After graduating from UBC in 2009, I was hired on as a full-time employee and have been based out of North Vancouver ever since. In my time at Chartwell I’ve been able to take advantage of participating in their Haida Gwaii operations and work closely with BC Timber sales, Major Licensees and the Haida Nation. In 2013, I became an RPF and am now the Project Manager of Chartwell’s Haida Gwaii operations. The thing I enjoy most about my job is the ability to travel all over the province for work and live in Vancouver.

Paul Rosher

I went to BCIT for the Renewable Resources Diploma from 1992 – 1994 and then on to UBC from 1994 – 1997 in the BSF Forest Operations program and has been an RPF for 17 years. I have worked all over the coast for 14 years and have been in the interior for the last 10 years. I have worked for the Ministry of Forests, Mac Millian Bloedel, Western Forest Products, Weyerhaeuser, JS Jones, and most recently Tolko in the Okanagan valley.

Peter Ackhurst

Peter Ackhurst worked as a field forester for MacMillan Bloedel, Crown Zellerbach, Crestbrook Forest Industries and Peace Wood Products. Since that time he has gone on to top managerial positions with the BC Ministry of Forests where he played an active part in forestry activities at regional and provincial levels. He has served as President of the Association of BC Professional Foresters and National President of the Canadian Institute of Forestry. He has also chaired the Tree Improvement Council and Forest Productivity Council. He possesses strong management and leadership capabilities, a broad based knowledge of British Columbia and Canadian forestry and extensive international experience. Peter worked as a forest consultant with a large consulting firm, and is presently an independent consultant to the forestry sector. He has been the forest manager of the Cheakamus Community Forest at Whistler for the past 5 years. He has additionally worked for 2 years in Tanzania with CUSO International, in Chile with the United Nations/FAO, and in Malaysia for 3 years with CIDA.

Rob Landucci

Rob has over 10 years’ experience overseeing the management of parks and urban forestry in Surrey and Port Coquitlam. A Natural Resource Professional with the Association of BC Forest Professionals, his work experience includes habitat restoration, forest health management, tree risk assessments and wildlife research.

Rob has a Bachelor of Science (Natural Resource Conservation) from the University of British Columbia, is an ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor. He is a Vice Chair of the Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver and on the Urban Forestry Committee with the Association of BC Forest Professionals.

Sam Coggins

I have a Bachelor of Science in Forest Resources Management and a PhD in Forestry from UBC. I am also a Registered Professional Forester and have held a professional designation in geomatics.

I have a wide range of experience in natural resources management including forestry, fisheries, environmental science, oil and gas development, environmental assessments, land management, and geomatics. My career began in 1993 in the UK where I attained 8 years’ experience in operational forestry. I moved to British Columbia in 2002 to pursue an education in forestry.

In 2012 I moved to Terrace, BC, to work in forestry and as a GIS technician for Nisga’a Lisims Government where I was responsible to complete a forest inventory of Nisga’a Lands, finalized FLNRO obligations on silviculture and roads, finished community wildfire protection plans, and completed day-to-day mapping for government. I was then employed by two environemntal consultants and worked directly on several major development projects in the Northwest to ensure compliance with environmental standards. After that I was the Director of Lands and Resources for Kitselas First Nation where I reviewed over 20 major resource development projects in Northwestern BC. I am now the Director of Investigations with the Forest Practices Board and am responsible to answer complaints.

Tom Lundgren

Graduate Britannia 1971, BCIT Forestry 1973, UBC BSc Forestry 1977, RPF 1214 1979. Summer work timber cruising Kitimat and Vavenby, road and block layout Mackenzie. Engineering MacDonald Cedar Products 1977 – 1980, Administrative Forester (appraisals, tenure management) Whonnock Industries 1980 – 1986, Silviculture Superintendent (reforestation program) Interfor 1986 -1990, Assistant Chief Forester (reforestation program, negotiations with First Nations and ENGO’s, company environmental standards) Interfor 1990 – 1992, Chief Forester Interfor 1992 – 1995, General Manager (responsible for business unit of 1.5 million m3/yr) Interfor 1995 – 1998, Manager Forestry (electronic mapping, reforestation, negotiations with First Nations, ENGO’s, government agencies) Interfor 1995 – 2012, Senior Forestry Manager 2012 – 2013, retired 2013.

Tonya Smith

Tonya graduated from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems with a BSc in Global Resource Systems in 2008. Following a couple years of volunteering on small organic farms through BC and in Ecuador, she returned to school with a renewed interest in forest resources management. She participated in the Transatlantic Forestry Masters (TRANSFOR-M) program, which brought her to the University of Eastern Finland for one year. During this year, Tonya interned with the European Forest Institute performing sustainability impact modelling, and learning about international forest policy. Upon her return to BC, Tonya interned with FPInnovations and Ecotrust Canda modelling biomass supply chains. Through Ecotrust, Tonya was connected with the Lil’wat First Nation, with whom she completed a strategic forestry plan to mitigate the impacts of forest harvest on cultural sites and resources. Tonya is currently doing community-based research with elders and experts in the Lil’wat Nation that explores innovative modes to strengthen Indigenous food security and sovereignty.

Ye Huang

After completing a bachelor degree and a master’s degree in Forestry from UBC in 2013, Ye worked as a field silviculture technician and crew leader in the Peace Region of both British Columbia and Alberta for both consultants and timber licensees. Now Ye is working for a major timber licensee in Campbell River as Planning Forester and GIS Analyst. He is responsible for strategic planning, spatial analysis, LiDAR acquisition & processing and database management. He is using the latest available technology to support forest management practices in BC Coast, particularly in the world renowned Great Bear Rainforest. Other than his main job duties, he is the chair representing his department in divisional Occupational Health & Safety Committee and is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees. Ye is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) in British Columbia