The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) elected Jane T. Russell as new Chair and Katrenia Pruitt Kier as Vice-Chair at a board meeting earlier this month. Although several females have served as chairs in the past, this is the first time in the history of the AFC that both officers have been women.
Kier has been a member of the Commission since February 2016, and Russell since February 2014. The seven-member board, which is appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate, is responsible for creating policy for the Forestry Commission, the state agency responsible for protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources.
“We look forward to working with these two leaders as our agency faces the challenges of the coming year. Mrs. Russell’s experience as an Alabama forest landowner combined with Ms. Kier’s corporate knowledge make them great assets to the Forestry Commission.” said Rick Oates, Alabama’s State Forester.
Russell graduated from high school in Luverne, Ala., earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Troy University and taught at Highland Home Elementary School. She and her husband are also landowners operating a cattle farm. In addition, Russell has been actively involved in her community, and held various leadership positions with the Montgomery County Farmers Federation including: Past Chair and Past President of the Forestry Committee. She currently serves as Scholarship Chair for the organization, a role she has enjoyed for the last 12 years.
Kier was born in Chicago, Ill., but has strong ties to the Yellowhammer State ash both her parents are from Madison County. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned a Business Management Certificate from the University of Alabama at Huntsville.
She is the owner of a 30 year old real estate brokerage firm in Huntsville, established by her late husband, Richard Kier, in 1987. Kier also holds the national assistant secretary position for the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB).