Future of the Sector: Thomas Bennett, FIT

Thomas Bennett, FIT

This is Thomas Bennett, Forester In Training (FIT). He’s an Assistant Operations Engineer at Teal Jones. In this role, he works closely with his supervisor on all phases of timber development in the Fraser Valley, specifically Upper Pitt Lake, from admin and contracting to harvesting and road planning.

Thomas, 23, always knew he wanted to work outdoors for his career. His enthusiasm about forestry led him to join UBC’s Urban Forestry program, before switching to Forest Resources Management to become a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). While in the program, Thomas received the Gordon Baskerville Best in Program Award.

Workdays are anything but typical for Thomas. He wakes up at 4:00 am and starts his day by studying and working towards the articling requirements in order to become an RPF. His days in office include road design, appraisals, cutting permit administration, coordinating public advisory meetings and assisting with sustainable forest management certification. When he’s out in the field, he accompanies archaeologists to First Nation communities for consultation, geoscientists to assess terrain stability, engineers to develop site plans for bridges, does quality control with consultants to inspect the layout of blocks, as well as takes water quality samples for testing. He also ensures the workers in a remote logging camp are well-looked after as he’s responsible for those contracts and admin work.

Aside from loving the outdoors, Thomas likes the work diversity, the people in the forestry community, and the fact that forestry can assist in mitigating climate change. “Challenging times in the industry bring opportunity for creativity and innovation,” says Thomas. Technological advancements like cross-laminated timber and wood-based products substituted for plastic make his future in the industry that much more exciting for him.

Thomas has some advice for those wanting to start a career in forestry: “Forestry folks are happy to talk. Reach out and ask questions. There are plenty of summer opportunities at big and small companies.”