April 27, 2022

    Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute graduates second annual class

    The Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute class of 2021 – 2022 graduated April 21, 2022, following the completion of their final session held in The Woodlands, Texas. The institute is a state-of-the-art leadership program that aims to be a transformative experience for participants, hoping to leave a deep and lasting effect on their ability to lead in daily environments.

    The leadership institute offers a constructive and inspiring learning environment, enabling opportunity for personal and professional growth by giving participants access to tools and speakers that will strengthen their leadership skills.

    “The vision of the institute is to establish a program that will rally existing and emerging leaders within the fields of natural resources and increase their capacity and ability to enact meaningful change throughout the state of Texas,” said Hughes Simpson, Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Resource Development Chief Operating Officer.

    This is the second class of the institute following the completely virtual inaugural class of 2020 – 2021. This year’s class included a diverse group of 17 graduates from differing natural resource organizations across the state including parks and recreation directors, fire chiefs, conservation managers and organization presidents.

    “I will absolutely be using the resources, tips and connections gained from the institute to forward our work at The Nature Conservancy, with partners and with the communities we serve,” said Jaime Gonzalez, 2021 – 2022 class graduate. “A key part of this experience was also getting to know and interact with an amazing cohort of leaders across the state.”

    The leadership institute offers training and professional development to members of organizations that share the Texas A&M Forest Service mission - building capacity and cohesion within working alliances of other entities who serve our same customers.

    Over the course of several months, the class participated in two, three-day training sessions, monthly lunch and learns, networking opportunities and course activities. 

    “I was exposed to a lot of information and ways of dealing with people that I was unaware of before attending, which will come in handy in my career,” said Joe Holcomb, 2021 – 2022 class graduate. “As an added bonus I met a lot of good people from various organizations and agencies.”

    One key to success for the institute is dynamic and engaging speakers. In the latest session, participants heard from Frank Keck about motivating volunteers, Amy Hays about generational intelligence, Dr. John Daly about leadership and engagement and Joe Cox and Julia Lancaster about advocacy.

    Each year, the leadership institute hopes to continue to grow and support local leaders while increasing the network of natural resource professionals across the state.

    To learn more about the Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute, the speakers and how to participate, visit


    Hughes Simpson, Texas A&M Forest Service Forest Resource Development Chief Operating Officer, 979-458-6658,
    Leighton Chachere, Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Specialist, 979-458-6606,