The dynamics of operating a profitable forestry-related business are complex. With markets in a state of flux, industry leaders are contemplating short-term strategies to weather the storm while positioning themselves for long term success. Where can entrepreneurs find a community of peers and expert advice to work through what comes next?

Over the two-day event, attendees will discuss leading your organization to sustained excellence, managing a successful forestry business in today's challenging landscape, and where Virginia forestry leaders are planning to spend their time and money in the coming years. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience two days of personal networking and knowledge exchange that will help you and your business thrive.

This event is eligible for SAF - CFE credits: Category 1 - 8.0 credits.

Online registration is now closed. Please register onsite at the Wintergreen Resort, Upper Crust Room. 



VFA Member

Non Member


Registration Rate $795 $895 $2,000

includes all sessions, networking events, and meals on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sponsor: As an sponsor, you can engage and educate Forest Leadership Retreat attendees about your organization, mission, products, or services. The sponsorship includes one complimentary registration, a 6’ tabletop for a display booth (other display options are available), recognition before the event (e-newsletter, website, and promotional emails) and recognition at the event (signage, on-site program, and slideshow).

Cancellation & Refunds
Cancellations received in writing to the VFA office by Friday, September 8 will receive a refund, minus a 20% processing fee. No refunds will be issued after September 8. Transfer of a registration to a colleague is free of charge but must be requested in writing to VFA.

Hotel Accommodations 

Wintergreen Resort

Route 664
Wintergreen, VA 22958
Treat yourself to magnificent mountain views, sumptuous luxury, and thrilling recreation at Wintergreen Resort. Spanning 11,000 acres on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort is surrounded by winding trails, cascading streams and lush forests. The ultimate four-season vacation or conference spot, Wintergreen Resort is peaceful and refreshing, with an endless variety of activities.

Room Rate: $149 (plus taxes and fees) per night. The negotiated rate of $149 is available Monday, Sept. 18, through Thursday, Sept 21. Additional nights may be available upon request. 
Self parking is complimentary. 

Reservations: Call (855) 728-8729 to reserve accommodations. The reservation line is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Hotel reservations cutoff date is Tuesday, Aug. 29. 

Online registration is now closed. Please register onsite at the Wintergreen Resort, Upper Crust Room. 


Tuesday, September 19 

12:30 - 1:45 PM Lunch 
1:45 - 3:00 PM Opening Keynote Session: Shaping Today’s Challenges Into Tomorrow’s Opportunities
Scott Jones, CEO, Forest Landowners Association

Scott will share his perspective on the role forests play in the future of America and ways we can shape the future of the industry.  
Scott Jones joined the Forest Landowners Association in 2003 and has a Bachelor of Science degree in forest resources from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia and has been an SAF Certified Forester as well as a Georgia Registered Forester.  Scott serves on the Standards Committee for the Sustainable Biomass Program based in Hamburg Germany and is a member of the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome Italy.  With 20 years as the CEO of the Forest Landowners Association, Scott is well versed in advocating on issues of importance to private forest landowners that help them access markets and preserve property rights that will sustain the next generation of forest landowners.
3:00 - 3:30 PM Networking Break 
3:30 - 4:45 PM Forestry Business Case Study: F&W Forestry Services Inc.
Marshall D. Thomas, President

Marshall will share the business story of F&W Forestry Services. He will discuss the origins of the business through it's evolution and adaptations to the market into the industry leader that it is today.  
Marshall Thomas is president of F&W Forestry Services, one of the nation’s oldest and largest forest management and consulting firms. Since becoming president in 1988, Thomas has led the once Southern-based company through a period of rapid growth and expansion that now includes 18 offices in 11 states comprising the Southern pine belt, the Central Hardwoods and Appalachia region, Upstate New York, and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. F&W also manages forestland in South America through its affiliate, FMS, headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay. The company’s professional staff numbers more than a hundred graduate foresters, forest technicians, appraisers, and other forestry-related professionals.
4:45 - 5:00 PM Networking Break 
5:00 - 6:00 PM Panel Discussion: Managing a Successful Business in Today's Challenging Landscape 
  • Don Bright, Meherrin River Forest Products
  • Andy Shorter, Mid Atlantic Tree Harvestors Inc.
  • Glen Worrell, F&W Forestry Services Inc.
  • Moderator: Corey Connors, Va Forestry Association

6:30 - 8:30 PM Whiskey Tasting & Evening Reception 
Local distillery, Virginia Distillery Co., will provide tastings of their award-winning whiskey along with a signature cocktail made especially for this event. Enjoy a casual evening of conversation, drinks, and heavy appetizers out on the terrace with a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  
8:30 - 10:00 PM Steve Peters’ In-Suite After Party

Wednesday, September 20
7:45 - 9:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 AM Leading Your Organization to Sustained Excellence
Dr. Steve L. McMullin, McMullin Training & Consulting, LLC

Leaders exist at all levels of organizations and the most successful organizations encourage leadership at all levels. In this "hands-on" session, you will apply some key principles of effective leadership and share with others how they apply to your organization.
Dr. Steve McMullin is an Associate Professor Emeritus in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. Steve and College Dean Paul Winistorfer started the Natural Resources Leadership Institute in 2009, to give undergraduate students the leadership and career skills they didn’t get in their classes but needed to succeed in their careers. Steve directed the Leadership Institute until his retirement in 2016. Dr. McMullin began his career as a fisheries biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, rising through various positions to become Chief of the Fisheries Management Bureau for the agency. He left Montana to join the faculty at Virginia Tech in 1989. He has taught leadership and communication workshops for 30 years, helping more that 3,000 working natural resource professionals (primarily in the USDA Forest Service) become better leaders and communicators. Steve is a Past-President and Fellow of the American Fisheries Society. He currently resides in Ashland, VA and spends summers in western Maine.
10:30 - 11:00 AM Networking Break
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM Facilitated Discussion: Where are Virginia Forestry Leaders Planning to Spend Their Time and Money in the Coming Years?
Bob Ramsey, Ramsey Consulting 

Bob will share what he’s learned from you, the forestry leaders, on how you plan to spend your time and money.

Bob Ramsey, CAE, loves to ignite enthusiasm in volunteer leaders and organizations committed to intentionally making a meaningful difference. Bob is known for his energetic leadership, mentoring and visionary thinking (the canary in the coal mine) in the non-profit community. He is a lifelong learner having earned the association industry’s top designation as a Certified Association Executive in 1978. Bob mentors MBA students at the University of Richmond.

12:30 - 1:30 PM Lunch
1:30 - 1:45 PM Break 
1:45 - 2:45 PM Trends & Forecasting
Chap Petersen, Virginia State Senator
For 16 years, Chap Petersen has represented Northern Virginia in the Virginia State Senate, serving as Chair of the Agriculture Conservation and Natural Resources Committee for the past four years. During his tenure as Chair, Chap oversaw deliberations on several issues of critical importance to Virginia's forestry and forest products community, including: biomass, the Forest Sustainability Fund, permitting, the Chesapeake Bay, and environmental justice.

As he prepares to leave the Senate, Chap's keen insight on what has come before, and what may be coming down the road, will be vital to understanding the intersection between public policy and the operation of your forestry-related business both now and into the future.
2:45 - 3:15 PM Closing Remarks and Wrap-Up
Corey Connors, Va Forestry Association

Corey will present a benchmarking analysis of the forestry associations and their impacts on the local forestry industry. He will conclude with a wrap-up analysis of the ideas presented throughout the event. 
Corey Connors joined VFA as Executive Director on January 2020. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of the North Carolina Nursery & Landscape Association (NCNLA) and spent nearly 15 years as an association government relations professional in Washington, DC, representing the interests of agriculture, forest products and retail industries at the federal level. Connors received his Master of Arts degree from George Washington University and Bachelor of Arts from Clarion University.

Thank you to our event sponsors!