Forest Products Laboratory and Northern Research Station Welcome New Director

Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen on Monday named Dr. Cynthia “Cindi” West Director of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and Northern Research Station (NRS).

Dr. West replaces Tony Ferguson who retired from the Forest Service this past December after serving as Lab and Station Director for nearly four years. She officially starts her new job on Monday, February 15.

Dr. Cynthia West
Incoming FPL and NRS Station Director

“My career has been focused on creating a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. The Forest Products Lab and Northern Research Station will play an important role in that future. I am excited to work with FPL and NRS employees, partners, and stakeholders to deliver the knowledge and technology to reach this vision,” explained West when asked about her transition to FPL and NRS.

In a call with staff Monday, Christiansen thanked Deputy Director Lon Yeary, who staffed the position in an acting capacity upon Ferguson’s retirement, and said she “was very excited that the (Lab and Station) would be in great hands going forward under Dr. West’s leadership.”

West has developed her career by working across organizational boundaries to build collaboration and partnerships. Originally from Staunton, Virginia, Dr. West has a diverse professional background in academia, private industry, and the federal government. In her 28 years of experience, West has worked to safeguard the sustainability of our nation’s natural resources, mitigate climate change, and increase forest and watershed resiliency. West began her career in timber procurement and landowner assistance with the Weyerhaeuser company in North Carolina. Most recently, West served as Director of Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service.

During West’s time with the Forest Service, she has served extensively in national leadership roles including Director of the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change, Associate Deputy Chief for R&D, and Director for Resource Use Sciences. Prior to her service in Washington D.C., West spent nine years as the Deputy Station Director for the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Portland, Oregon. In this position, West tackled the complex resource challenges of Oregon, Washington, and Alaska by creating a strong science-management partnership.

Additionally, Dr. West has held academic positions at Virginia Tech and Mississippi State University. West holds a BS in Forestry Management, an MBA in Marketing and Management, and a PhD in Wood Science and Forest Products from Virginia Tech. She has published more than sixty research papers and spoke at more than eighty forest sector trade and industry development conferences.