Leadership changes at Virginia Department of Forestry

virginia department of forestryThree veteran employees of the Virginia Department of Forestry have assumed new leadership roles within the agency that protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginia.

John R. (Robbie) Talbert is now the Regional Forester for the Central Region – a 33-county area that covers the middle 1/3 of Virginia from Maryland to North Carolina. He replaces Ed Zimmer who was promoted to Chief of Operations earlier this year.  Talbert had been the deputy regional forester for the Central Region since 2012.  He joined the VDOF in May 2007 after seven years with the North Carolina Division of Forest Resources.  Robbie is a 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, and his office is in Charlottesville.

Terrance J. (Terry) Lasher is now the Regional Forester for the Eastern Region – a 32-county area that covers the eastern 1/3 of Virginia.  He replaces Toni Noreika who retired April 1 after more than 30 years with the Agency.  Terry had been the senior area forester in Northern Virginia, but is no stranger to the Eastern Region as he began his VDOF career as a resource conservation and development forester there and also served as an area forester in King William and King & Queen counties.  The 15-year VDOF veteran holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech and an associate’s degree from the New York State Ranger School.  His office is in Providence Forge, New Kent County.

Barbara White is the new Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program Manager at the VDOF headquarters in Charlottesville. She replaces the late Paul Revell who retired in January after more than 30 years with the Agency. Barbara has more than 21 years with the VDOF, including service for three years as an assistant regional forester in the Central Region as well as an area forester for seven years in Fairfax County in addition to her 11 years as the U&CF partnership coordinator.  Barbara also has worked as an arborist/horticulturalist with the City of Manassas and served as the Community Tree Planting program director for the National Tree Trust.

“While we are a small (242 employees) agency of the Commonwealth, we have a big mission,” said State Forester Bettina Ring.  “The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and serves 8 million Virginians and 16 million acres of forestland, so it’s vital that we have some of the best employees in government who are able to grow into key leadership positions.  This is certainly the case with Robbie, Terry and Barbara.”


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