James B. Hull, Jr.

James B. Hull, Jr.: Texas’ Seventh State Forester (1996 – 2008)

James B. Hull, Jr. served as Associate Director of the agency for fifteen years under Bruce Miles before becoming the seventh State Forester on June 1, 1996. At 53 years of age, Hull was the first state forester born in Texas (Carthage), and the first to receive his forestry degree from a Texas university. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in January 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in forestry. In 1966, he began his long career with TFS as an assistant forester in Woodville and Kirbyville, under direction of District Foresters Art Green and Pat Ebarb. As did Miles, Hull worked his way up the ranks of TFS in various field offices. He was assistant forester in Linden from 1969 to 1971 and district forester in Kirbyville and supervisor of Siecke State Forest from 1971 to 1975. He was promoted to assistant director in College Station in 1975. In 1981, Bruce Miles selected him to be associate director. As state forester, Hull served on numerous regional and national committees, bringing the agency even more acclaim and notice than previously enjoyed. He was elected president (2006) of the National Association of State Foresters, andchairman of the NASF Fire Protection Committee for four years during which he led the states in development and funding of the National Fire Plan. He co-chaired the National Blue Ribbon Commission on Aerial Firefighting. A long-standing and active member of Society of American Foresters, Hull received the organization’s highest award (Fellow) in 1988. The Texas Chapter of SAF awarded Hull the first Forestry Leadership Award in 1972 to recognize a forester less than 35 years of age. In 1983, he received the Distinguished Service to Forestry Award, the highest state honor awarded each year by the SAF. The nomination cited Hull for being the “professional’s professional” and lauded his work within his profession, vocation and civic activities. He required all TFS foresters to become members of SAF and encouraged their participation in the Society at both local and national levels. Once he became Director, Hull redirected the agency away from the traditional one-on-one service to landowners and toward leadership roles with collaborating partners at the community, state,and national levels. Hull’s dedication to the cooperative and partnership side of forestry kept him in the air and on the road more so than any of his predecessors –Austin, Atlanta and Washington, DC were frequent destinations. Hull led the agency through the Y2K transition in 2000, as well as the adoption of electronic communication and technology as the 21st century began. The Texas Wildfire Protection Plan developed during his tenure as a model for the nation is finally enjoying sufficient state funding to support its implementation. Always an active member of TFA, Jimmy and his wife Eugenia were presented a Life Membership from his friends upon his retirement in 2008. Following his retirement, Stephen F. Austin State University honored Hull in 2008 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. His accomplishments also garnered him the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of State Foresters.