Career summary

Career locations: UK (England, Scotland & Wales), Caribbean (based Jamaica), South Pacific (based Solomon Islands)

Wilson Applied Consultancy
My own consultancy, Edinburgh (from Oct 2004)
I run my own consultancy based in central Edinburgh specialising in forest certification and other forestry-related public policy issues and in facilitating the work of partnerships and not-for-profit organisations. For further information see here.

Forest Industries Development Council Ltd (FIDC)
(previously Forestry Industry Council)
Executive Director, Edinburgh (May 1999-Sept 2004)

FIDC was the the UK's wood-chain partnership organisation providing a single political focus for representing the UK forest industries.

Over five years, I rebuilt and transformed the status and reputation of the Council following the reversal of a decision to cease operations: FIDC became the preferred partner for public sector and other external stakeholders; the value of a pan-industry strategic approach and of partnership working became widely recognised by internal stakeholders; and its work on sustainable development in the forestry business sector was recognised internationally as world-leading by other forest industry bodies. Notable was the development of a sector sustainability strategy, securing industry-positive forestry strategies by newly devolved Scottish and Welsh governments, building economic development/cluster partnerships in Scotland, Wales and England and securing public money for transport infrastructure in Scotland.

Overall, this provided a strong foundation for the development of a new Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) to provide a single focus for UK forestry sector representation from October 2004.

Timber Growers Association (TGA)
(previously Timber Growers UK)
Chief Executive, Edinburgh (Feb 1993-April 1999)
Technical Director, London (Jan 1991-Feb 1993)
Land Use & Environment Officer, London (April 1988 -Dec 1990)

TGA was the trade association representing woodland owners and managers in England, Scotland and Wales.

My initial role supporting policy development and providing technical support to members expanded on promotion to Technical Director when I ran the London office with full responsibility for policy and communications. On promotion to CEO, I had to face the challenge of a falling membership resulting from unfavourable tax changes that radically altered the economics of timber growing. I restructured and re-branded the association to create a modern political and professional support organisation with a reactivated grassroots. By increasing its perceived relevance to members, I reversed membership decline and brought the finances into balance. Notably, I was instrumental in the development of the independent UK Woodland Assurance Standard for use in FSC certification by negotiating terms which were acceptable to the economic stakeholders.

TGA's role is now undertaken by the Confederation of Forest Industries (Confor) which has provided a single focus for UK forestry sector representation since October 2004.                 

UK Government's Overseas Development Administration (ODA) 
(now Department for International Development)

ODA Technical Co-operation Officer
Seconded to Ministry of Natural Resources Forestry Division, Solomon Islands   
Research Officer (Nursery & Establishment), Poitete, Kolombangara, Western Province (Nov 1984 -Mar 1988)

The over-exploitation of natural forest is a major risk for the Solomon Islands' economy which is reliant on timber and fisheries receipts. As an embedded expert, I led the research project to identify nursery, vegetative propagation and field establishment techniques; this was part of a strategic research programme to pave the way for developing sustainable commercial forests on logged areas. I developed comprehensive prescriptions for all major species, enhanced the skills base within the Forestry Division and advised Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) consultants planning a commercial tropical hardwood plantation project. Kolombangara Forest Products Ltd (KFPL) was consequently established and is the first plantation forest in the Pacific region certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council - see www.kfpl.com.sb

ODA Assistant Professional Officer
Seconded to Forest Industries Development Company Ltd (FIDCO), Jamaica
Technical Assistant, Kingston (Jan-Aug 1983)

This secondment was the first part of an ODA two-year Post-graduate Training Award Scheme to prepare graduates for working in the UK Government's Aid Programme: a prestigious award including a Masters programme at the University of Oxford. FIDCO was a government-owned company backed by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and World Bank to commercialise public sector forestry activities. As an embedded Technical Assistant I supported the full range of activities.

Academic & professional qualifications

  • Society for the Environment: Chartered Member (CEnv)

  • Institute of Chartered Foresters: Fellow (FICFor)

  • MSc Forestry and its Relation to Land Use, University of Oxford

  • BSc (Hons.) Forestry, University of Wales, Bangor

Other information
  • Nationality: British              

  • Languages: English,  Melanesian Pijin (Solomon Islands)

Wilson Applied Consultancy   27/2 North West Circus Place   Edinburgh   EH3 6TP   UK
T:  +44 (0)131 226 4665   F:  +44 (0)700 608 7832   M:  +44 (0)7740 434 220   E:  mail@wilsonapplied.com