New Officers to Lead Alabama Forestry Commission
At a board meeting on January 11th at state forestry headquarters in Montgomery, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) elected Jane T. Russell of Lapine as new Chair and Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville as Vice-Chair. Russell has been a member of the Commission since February 2014, and Kier since February 2016. Although a couple females have previously served as chairs, this is the first time in the history of the AFC that both officers have been women.
According to Alabama’s State Forester Rick Oates, “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.”
Originally from Petrey in Crenshaw County, Mrs. Russell graduated from high school in Luverne and earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Troy University. In addition to teaching at Highland Home Elementary School, she has also been a small business owner. Actively involved in the community, she has served in various leadership capacities with the Montgomery County Farmers Federation including Past President and Past Chair of the Forestry Committee. Currently, she serves as Scholarship Chair for the organization, a role she says she has greatly enjoyed for the last 12 years. Mrs. Russell and her husband are landowners and operate a cattle farm. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Mrs. Kier, born in Chicago, Illinois, has strong family ties in Alabama with both parents being from Madison County, Alabama. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and received a Business Management Certificate from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in 1993. She is the owner of Kier Realestate, LLC, a real estate brokerage firm in Huntsville, established by her late husband, Richard Kier, in 1987. After 30 years, the business continues to successfully serve Alabama clients. Additionally, Mrs. Kier serves as national assistant secretary for the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), and also as minister and youth committee coordinator for the Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Fellowship. She is a widow with two adult children.
Other members of the AFC Board of Commissioners include immediate past Chairman Jerry M. Dwyer of Auburn; Stephen W. May, III of Sawyerville; Dr. Bill Sudduth of Tuscaloosa; Robert N. Turner of Sulligent; and Joseph H. Twardy of Auburn. This seven-member board, appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate, is responsible for setting policy for the Forestry Commission, the state agency charged with protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources.
To learn more about the AFC, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.