April 11, 2024

    Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute graduates fourth class

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute’s fourth cohort graduated today, following the completion of its final session in College Station.

    The leadership institute is a seven-month program that offers a constructive and inspiring learning environment, enabling opportunities for personal and professional growth by giving participants access to tools and speakers to strengthen their leadership skills.

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

    This is the fourth class of the leadership institute. The class included a diverse group of 24 graduates from natural resource organizations across the state, including nonprofit professionals, fire chiefs, conservation coordinators and executive directors.

    “I found the institute to be an excellent leadership program for both new and seasoned leaders,” said Angela Moore, 2023 – 2024 class graduate. “It provided me with practical and effective tools that can be impactful in both my professional and personal life.”

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

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

    “I have attended many leadership development programs, and I've noticed a common issue - their agendas often ignore the complex realities of managing people, even though strong relationships are essential for organizational success,” said Phillip Arroyo, 2023 – 2024 class graduate. “This program is different. It tackles many practical topics to help leaders improve their organizations, with an emphasis on building human connections. This real-world approach makes the program uniquely valuable and I consider it the best one I have been involved in yet.” 

    One key to success for the institute is dynamic and engaging speakers. In the final session, participants heard from Dr. Thomas Easley about principles for challenging engagement, Dr. Steven Beebe about conflict resolution, Amy Hays about generational learning and Frank Keck about coaching. 

    Each year, the leadership institute aims 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

    The application for class five of the Texas A&M Forest Service Leadership Institute closes June 1 and can be found here:

    Texas A&M Forest Service Contacts:
    Leighton Gibson, Communications Specialist III, 979-458-6606,
    Hughes Simpson, Forest Systems Department Head, 979-458-6658,