Forest Service announces new Director for Forest Products Laboratory

Forest Service Announces New Director for Forest Products LaboratoryU.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell announced today that Michael T. Rains has accepted the position as Director of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wis., effective immediately.

Rains has served as FPL’s Acting Director since March, 2012. He is also the director of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and will continue to lead both organizations.

“Michael’s experience, leadership, and unflagging passion for forestry and the wood products field make him the perfect candidate for running our Forest Products Lab,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Four decades into his career, there’s no one more qualified, committed or energetic about the issues.”

“It is such an honor for me to be part of this national treasure,” said Rains. “I appreciate the confidence of our Chief, employees of the Forest Products Laboratory, and many others. While I have been Acting Director of the Forest Products Laboratory for about 19 months, this formal designation of Director reconfirms our current direction and allows us the momentum needed for the future.”

Rains’ 45-year career with the U.S. Forest Service began as a wildland firefighter for California. He has since served the agency in many capacities, including Director of Information Resources Management and Deputy Chief of State and Private Forestry.

With a strong professional background in natural resources management and science, program development, and organizational design, Rains brings a wealth of experience to the Forest Products Laboratory.

Rains holds a BS in Forest Management and a MS in Watershed Management from Humboldt State University, and Master of Education in Secondary Education from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He has also studied economics and labor relations, public administration, and government operations at various universities.

For over 100 years, the Forest Products Laboratory’s work with academia, industry, and other government agencies has led to ground-breaking discoveries with great benefit to the public. Additional information on FPL’s research is available at www.fpl.fs.fed.us.

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