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Management / Supervision

Managers who work in forest operations oversee a spectrum of different types of projects that manage forests. Managing projects could entail activities such as: supervision of crews, directing the production of heavy equipment, data measurement and evaluation, problem-solving and decision-making, planning safe work, contract administration, or accomplishing various construction assignments. These sought-after jobs offer rewarding careers in a production setting—often outdoors—where every week brings new challenges, achievement and satisfying results. Jobsites change, working conditions vary, the weather passes, new problems are solved, and projects are started & finished.
 
Forest sector career pathways usually start in entry-level jobs to learn the trade, and progress to jobs having greater responsibilities, then becoming supervisors and managers. Careers begin by gaining on-the-job experience, training, and learning through performance in working different jobs. Skills and experience are often learned by working your way “up the ladder” in related jobs. Managerial performance is improved through continuing education classes, attaining trade certificates or commercial drivers’ license, supervising others, written handbooks or technical guides, and learning additional skills through work at different jobs. Education may also improve opportunities and career advancement into supervisory and managerial jobs—such as study in technology at high school, trade school or community college, or even a college degree.
 
Crews are assembled and trained to accomplish particular assignments, which change throughout the year. Typically those assignments are short-term or seasonal—therefore a forestry crew may work on many different jobs and types of assignments that change during a single year. This means that within several months, a crewmember for a few days or weeks could work as a tree planter, firefighter, fuels & erosion helper, and a plantation worker. All crewmembers receive ample job-tailored safety and task training, due to the many hazards from work in rough terrain, ever-changing outdoor jobsites, specific tasks, tools/power equipment, natural risks, and mountain driving.
 
Some of the unique benefits of a forest supervisor or manager jobs may include:
  • Working with good people
  • Employer-provided vehicle
  • Early to outdoor jobsites
  • Planning & controlling work
  • Problem-solving & fast-paced Technology+people=results
  • Variety of work
  • Renewable & growing green
  • Pride in teamwork
  • Rewarding responsibility
  • Production & safety bonus
  • Excellent wage & benefits
  • Camaraderie & respect
  • Small-business, family feel Living rural, away from city

BULLBUCK (Falling Supervisor)
Commonly called the “bullbuck,” the timber falling crew supervisor oversees the safe production of a several-person crew, which uses chainsaws to cut & fall trees, and then cut, or “buck,” them into desired log lengths. Work involves detailed falling prescriptions, precise tree falling, and optimized log manufacturing. Refer to the similar ‘Hooktender’ job description for further information.
 
CONSTRUCTION MANAGER
The construction manager is a supervisor of forest road construction and/or road maintenance, who oversees the safe production of an 8-10 person crew, several machines, and trucks. The road crew is comprised of engineering technicians, forestry crew workers, and the heavy equipment operators who run machines engaged in road repairs, road building, stream-crossing construction, and maintenance of road surfaces, drainage & clearing. Manager directs construction methods, operations, machinery, materials, and workforce. Road building work involves locating and designing roads, surveying, staking, falling & clearing, grubbing stumps, earthwork excavation, rock shooting, end haul & wasting, sub-grade profile, drainage installation, final grading, rock surfacing, rock drilling, rock crushing, grading, seeding & erosion control, installing closure structures, and so forth. Road maintenance work on existing roads involves right-of-way clearing, maintenance grading, culvert cleaning, ditch grading & reconstruction, drainage repairs, culvert replacement, rock resurfacing, rock grading, seeding & erosion control, closure structure repairs, and so forth. Supervisor coordinates work plans and accomplishment with crew members, technicians, project manager, professional foresters/engineers, contract managers, timber purchaser, landowner, and others. Supervisor walks over rough terrain to oversee crew and machine operators, production, safety, equipment, engineering, and resource protection. Position works outdoors; must be in excellent physical condition; be a strong problem-solver, requires daily travel to jobsites. Supervisor drives vehicles on narrow mountain roads, during transportation of the road crew and tools to the forest jobsites. Communicates safe equipment movement instructions using several radios and hand signals. Requires special safety clothing, physical-fitness, and hiking the often steep forest terrain, climbing over downed trees, while carrying radios and instruments.
 
Prior Experience: Work as an engineering technician and other supervisor job; preferred on-job experience in forest road and engineering crew jobs, chainsaw use & service; written road engineering handbooks and training guides; supervisor training; on-the-job-training.
 
CREW BOSS
Crew Boss (Forestry Crew Supervisor) Commonly called the “crew boss,” the forestry crew supervisor oversees the safe production of a 5 to 20-person team that performs a variety of assignments that maintain and protect healthy young forests as they grow, including: tree planting, firefighting, slash piling, prescribed burning, pre-commercial thinning, seedling care, cone collection, tree release, vegetation control, and stream or habitat enhancement. Crews may also provide disaster response and relief services for incidents, such as wildfires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or search & recovery. Boss directs forestry methods, operations, tools, materials, and workforce. Crews are assembled and trained to accomplish particular assignments, which may change often throughout the year—crew may work on many different types of tasks during a single year. Work demands multi-tasking to direct & train crew, plan work, balance labor & tools, crew transportation, scheduling, equipment repair, ensure safe procedures, and production. Modern technology used may include: GPS locations & mapping, field date recording, detailed treatment prescriptions, radio communication, hi-tech instruments, specialized handling of genetically-improved seedlings, prescribed burning of forest fuels, backfiring for fire suppression, state-of-the art fertilizers, repellents & release chemicals, improved purpose-built tools & saws, and current safety gear. Supervisor coordinates work plans and accomplishment with crew members, technicians, project manager, forester professionals, contract managers, landowner, and others. Supervisor walks over rough terrain to oversee crew performance, production, safety, equipment, engineering, and resource protection. Position works outdoors; must be in excellent physical condition; be a strong problem-solver, requires daily travel to jobsites. Supervisor drives vehicles on narrow mountain roads, during transportation of the logging crew and tools to the forest jobsites. Communicates safe and equipment log movement instructions using radios and hand signals. Requires special safety clothing, physical-fitness, endurance, and hiking the often steep forest terrain, climbing over downed trees, while carrying radios and tools.
 
Prior Experience: Work on a forestry or logging crew, and other supervisor job; preferred on-job experience in other forestry jobs, chainsaw use & service; written handbooks and training guides; supervisor training; on-the-job-training.
 
ENGINE BOSS
Commonly called the “engine boss,” the fire engine-water supervisor oversees the safe operation and mobilization of two or more “fire engines” or “water tender” trucks, which are heavy vehicles equipped with a large water tank and pumps—intended for delivering and pumping water at forest jobsites. The fire engine is designed to carry a full compliment of supplies for forest firefighting and forestry projects, such as water, pumps, hose, tools, water tanks, safety supplies and food. The water tender is a larger truck with a large water tank designed to deliver greater water volumes for either forest road construction, road maintenance or firefighting. Boss directs water-use methods, operations, trucks & pumps, materials, and workforce. The fire engines may be under or over 26,000 lb gross vehicle weight; while the tender truck is over this weight and requires a Commercial Drivers License. Truck travels on both highways and on unpaved, narrow, winding, steep forest roads. Commonly, each engine or tender has 2-person crew—a driver and a forestry crew person to assist with operations at the jobsite.
 
FOREST MANAGER
Commonly called the “tree farm manager,” the forest manager oversees the full administration of a forest property, including operations surrounding: road access, forest growth & health, harvest, reforest, natural resources, protection, firefighting, recreation, special uses, and business matters. Forest manager may direct several supervisors, multiple operations, crews or jobsites. Forest manager directs the safe production of a team of supervisors that perform other specific assignments involving forest management projects (refer to the different manager job descriptions). Manager directs the work methods, personnel, production, scheduling, logistics, safety, operations, fleet, and materials. Supervisors are assembled and trained to accomplish particular assignments, which may change often throughout the year. Work demands multi-tasking to direct & train personnel, plan work, balance labor & tools, transportation, scheduling, equipment repair, ensure safe procedures, and optimize production. Modern technology and methods are effectively utilized. Manager coordinates work plans and accomplishment with landowner, forester professionals, supervisors, contract managers, and others. As a forest manager, the position still works outdoors some days to oversee the progress of other managers, to meet forest management plan objectives. Position may work outdoors; be in good physical condition; and requires travel to jobsites.
 
HOOK TENDER
Commonly called the “hooktender,” the logging crew supervisor oversees the safe production of an 8-10 person crew & several machines. A single logging crew cuts and brings whole trees or logs from the stump to the roadside landing—often on steep hills and long distances. After whole trees are processed into desired log products, they are sorted and loaded onto log trucks. Work involves prescribed layouts, precise tree falling and log manufacturing, complex tree skidding, technical rigging, purpose-built technology, and heavy equipment. Hooktender directs logging methods, operations, machinery, materials, and workforce. Supervisor coordinates work plans and accomplishment with crew members, technicians, project manager, professional foresters, contract managers, timber purchaser, landowner, and others. Supervisor walks over rough terrain to oversee crew and machine operators, production, safety, equipment, engineering, and resource protection. Position works outdoors; must be in excellent physical condition; be a strong problem-solver, requires daily travel to jobsites. Supervisor drives vehicles on narrow mountain roads, during transportation of the logging crew and tools to the forest jobsites. Communicates safe equipment and log movement instructions using several radios and hand signals. Requires special safety clothing, physical-fitness, endurance, and hiking the often steep forest terrain, climbing over downed trees, while carrying radios and heavy cable rigging.
 
Prior Experience: Work as rigging slinger and other supervisor job; preferred on-job experience in other logging and forestry crew jobs, chainsaw use & service; written cable rigging handbooks and training guides; supervisor training; on-the-job-training.
 
PROJECT MANAGER
The project manager oversees several supervisors, multiple operations, crews or jobsites (known as “sides”). This position may be known as another job title, such as: division manager, side rod, project engineer, or superintendent. Project manager directs the safe production of a team of supervisors that perform other specific assignments involving forest management projects (refer to the different manager job descriptions). Manager directs the work methods, personnel, production, scheduling, logistics, safety, operations, fleet, and materials. Supervisors are assembled and trained to accomplish particular assignments, which may change often throughout the year. Work demands multi-tasking to direct & train personnel, plan work, balance labor & tools, transportation, scheduling, equipment repair, ensure safe procedures, and optimize production. Modern technology and methods are effectively utilized. Manager coordinates work plans and accomplishment with supervisors, forester professionals, contract managers, landowner, and others. As a project manager, the position still works outdoors most days to oversee the progress of up to 100 people, equipment, and materials to meet complex contract terms. Position works outdoors; must be in good physical condition; requires daily travel to jobsites; and sometimes requires travel out-of area or out-of-state.
 
RELOAD / LOG YARD MANAGER
The reload/log yard manager is a supervisor of a dedicated timber storage site, who oversees the safe performance of unloading, loading, sorting, and decking/piling of forest products. The so-called “reload site,” “log yard,” “sort yard,” or “chip pile” is a transportation hub, where raw forest products are collected, sorted, temporarily stored, or sold prior to re-loading for transportation to different manufacturing destinations. Such a reload yard may engage in sorting and reloading different grades & sizes of forest products to be transferred between different manufacturers or transportation modes—forest truck, highway truck, railcar, barge, log raft, mill, warehouse, or re-sale yard. Forest products handled by the manager may include logs, wood chips, hogg fuel, utility poles, lumber, or crushed rock. These forest products may be delivered from the forest to timber mills, between transportation hubs, or from mills to other manufacturing facilities. The reload/log yard crew is comprised of forestry technicians, log scalers, and the heavy equipment operators who run machines engaged in handling forest product movements. Manager directs loading methods, inventory control, transportation modes, operations, machinery, and workforce.
 
SERVICE MANAGER
The service manager is a supervisor of mechanical repairs, who oversees the safe service performed to assure smooth operation of forestry heavy equipment and heavy trucks. The fleet of many different trucks and heavy equipment is operated on forestry, logging, transportation, and forest road construction projects. Repair and service is conducted either outdoors at the forest jobsite, or indoors at an equipment-truck repair shop. Manager directs methods for repairs & routine maintenance, safe operations, shop facilities, service trucks, parts procurement, technology, tools, instruments, and workforce. Managing the forest sector mechanics is the responsibility for prompt and efficient repair of high-tech equipment, as well as preventative service, which keeps machinery producing without needless breakdowns. Keeping the machinery working and the trucks moving in the forest demands a skilled team of mechanics on the job daily, all equipped with current mechanical technology. Every forest management operation jobsite employs a range of mechanized technology, heavy equipment, automated machines, diesel trucks, and small motors.
 
SUPERVISOR
The foreman or supervisor oversees the safe production of a team, work crew, and/or machinery that performs other specific assignments involving forest management projects (beyond those addressed in other supervisor job descriptions). Supervisor directs forestry/technical methods, operations, tools, machinery, vehicles, materials, and workforce. Crews are assembled and trained to accomplish particular assignments, which may change often throughout the year. Work demands multi-tasking to direct & train crew, plan work, balance labor & tools, crew transportation, scheduling, equipment repair, ensure safe procedures, and production. Modern technology and methods are effectively utilized. Supervisor coordinates work plans and accomplishment with crew members, technicians, project manager, forester professionals, contract managers, landowner, and others. Supervisor may walk over rough terrain to oversee crew performance, production, safety, equipment, technical details, and resource protection. Position works outdoors; must be in excellent physical condition; be a strong problem-solver, requires daily travel to jobsites. Supervisor drives vehicles on narrow mountain roads, during transportation of the logging crew and tools to the forest jobsites. Communicates safe production and instructions using radios and hand signals. Requires special safety clothing, physical-fitness, endurance, and hiking the often steep forest terrain, climbing over downed trees, while carrying radios and tools.
 
Prior Experience: Work on a forestry crew, and other supervisor job; preferred on-job experience in other forestry jobs, chainsaw use & service; written handbooks and training guides; supervisor training; on-the-job-training.
 
TIMBER PROCUREMENT
The timber procurement manager is a supervisor of forest harvest-related contracts, who oversees the procurement of timber and safe execution of the service contracts that conduct harvest and roading work. The timber procurement crew is comprised of forestry technicians, timber cruisers/appraisers, log buyers, log scalers, and contract inspectors. Manager directs contract bid-negotiate-administer, harvesting & roading methods, operations, and workforce. Procurement work involves purchase & sale of timber/logs; measure & appraise timber values; determine bid values; negotiate contracts; merchandise logs; design forestry projects; layout harvest operations; design project contracts; contract administration; assure quality control; monitor project quality & compliance. Buy, sell, trade logs and chips necessary to furnish a timber supply. Examine standing timber offered for sale—calculating its volume, grade and harvest costs—necessary to appraise its value and prepare a purchase bid. Participate in timber auctions; purchase harvest contracts; arrange purchase agreements; arrange harvest and reforestation contracting. Develop relationships, coordinate work plans and accomplishment to gain and keep the trust of contractors, forest professionals, forestry technicians, log buyers, timberland managers, contract managers, timber purchaser, landowner, and others. Keeping a strong reputation and integrity is essential to manage forest, arrange contracting, and market logs among various mills and forest landowners. Position works a combination of both outdoors & indoors; requires daily travel to jobsites.
 
TRUCK MANAGER
The truck manager is a supervisor of the heavy truck transportation of forest products, heavy equipment and construction materials, who oversees the safe performance of several truck drivers and their semi-trucks. The truck fleet is comprised of heavy haul, purpose-built 18-wheel trucks, and their skilled forest truck drivers—who deliver logs, wood chips, hogg fuel, machinery, construction materials, crushed rock, lumber, water, soil & rock, or fire equipment. These forest products may be delivered from the forest to timber mills, between transportation hubs, or from mills to other manufacturing facilities. Manager directs trucking dispatch, routing, schedules, safe operations, trucks, and workforce. Managing the team of truck drivers is challenged daily with changing truck configurations, destinations, load types, routing, and road conditions. Moving renewable wood products from forest to market involves managing a tremendous amount of transportation—primarily trucking by 18-wheel semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. The forest product truck manager is responsible for the safe and efficient transport of wood products, and the machinery used to harvest and manage the forest. Drivers run a heavy truck, which is purpose-built to accomplish a specialized heavy-hauling task. The truck driver in the forest sector is much more than just a highway driver, because of the ever-changing and unique payloads hauled over diverse road conditions—from mountainous forests to highways.