April 14, 2017
After a nearly yearlong search, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) appointed Rick Oates state forester April 3.
Effective April 10, Oates replaced Interim State Forester Gary M. Cole.
In his new job, Oates oversees 240 employees who protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources. The AFC has an annual budget of approximately $22 million.
The Texas native most recently served as the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Forestry Division director and was the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA) executive director. He also directed the Federation’s Wildlife and Catfish divisions.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell commended AFC on Oates’ appointment, citing his education, experience and passion for forestry.
Oates formerly served as chief of staff for Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan and held multiple positions with the Alabama Forestry Association.
Oates has a master’s degree in forestry from Auburn University. He and wife Kelly live in Montgomery and have two children.
William Green will work with the ATFA, as well as the Federation’s Forestry and Wildlife divisions, during this transition period. Brian Hardin is the Catfish Division contact in the interim.