Nov. 25, 2015—COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Texas A&M Forest Service Associate Director William E. Oates has been recognized as a Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow Service Award recipient for 2014 – 2015.

    The Regents Fellow Service Awards program was established in 1998 and the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 recognizing employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.

    Oates is one of eight professionals to receive the Regents Fellow Award this year.

    Serving as Associate Director since 2011, Oates joined Texas A&M Forest Service as a forester in 1981. He climbed agency ranks by consistently performing exemplary work and making key contributions in forestry and wildfire programs throughout the state spanning three decades. 

    Oates has held key leadership roles in East Texas landowner assistance, forest health and fire suppression programs. He now oversees the statewide programs of forest stewardship, forest inventory and analysis, urban forestry, rural forestry assistance, forest health, economic development and water quality.

    “Bill has excelled in his career and is looked to as a leader in forestry both within our state and across the South,” said Tom Boggus, Texas A&M Forest Service director. “Bill is a ‘forester’s forester’. He serves as an excellent role model and energetically promotes our profession.”

    Oates is an active member of the Texas Forestry Association — having served as president in 2015. He is a certified forester through the Society of American Foresters, a leader among the Southern Group of State Foresters and a representative of the Southern Region to the National Association of State Foresters resource committee.

    “It has been an honor knowing and working with Bill over the past 30 years, personally and professionally,” James Houser, vice president of Farmer’s National Company said. The fellow TFA and SAF member goes on to say “He has been an outstanding leader for the forest community not only within the great State of Texas, but entire United States.” 

    Advocating for those in the forestry profession across the country, Oates led Texas in taking on crucial issues in the Society of American Foresters organization; including convincing leaders of the organization to rescind a proposal that may have marginalized the professionalism and integrity of the certified forester status.

    Under Oates’ leadership, Texas A&M Forest Service was the first state forestry agency in the nation to create an on-line portal for interactive and geospatial web applications. The Texas Forest Information Portal provides information about the benefits that trees and forests provide and drive economic development in the timber and wood products industry. The website gives the public readily-available and easily-accessible information about trees and forests in Texas.


    Other notable agency accomplishments include Oates’ leadership in the Bastrop Recovery effort through which nearly 3 million loblolly pine tree seedlings were planted across 5,000 acres to replace trees lost during wildfires in 2011.

    Using his talent for partnering with other organizations that share the agency’s mission, Oates brought together the National Park Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, The Nature Conservancy and the USDA Southern Research Station in current survey and restoration efforts of the declining Ponderosa Pine trees of the Davis Mountains.

    “Bill Oates will long serve as a model of why the Texas A&M System Board of Regents created the Regents Fellow Service Award,” Director Emeritus of Texas A&M Forest Service James B. Hull said. “He is the perfect representative of the System to receive this highest of honors!”

    A second generation forester, Oates graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. He lives in College Station, Texas with his wife Connie and has three children and three grandchildren.


    Note to Editor: Original news release by the Texas A&M University System
    Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Approves 20 Regents Professors and Regents Fellows

    Pictured: Texas A&M Forest Service Associate Director William E. Oates


    Linda Moon, Communications Manager
    979-450-1160979-450-1160, lmoon@tfs.tamu.edu