The Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) is led by the state forester as established in the Code of Virginia §10.1-1100. The state forester is appointed by the Governor of Virginia and serves under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
The state forester, along with the Executive Leadership Team, are responsible for ensuring that the agency accomplishes its mission to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources.
Meet the Executive Leadership Team
As state forester, Rob Farrell serves as the director of the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) and is responsible for ensuring that the agency accomplishes its mission to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources.
Deputy State Forester
Ed Zimmer has served as deputy state forester for the Virginia Department of Forestry since 2018. In this capacity, he supports the agency’s primary mission of developing and enhancing the forest resources of Virginia by directly providing strategic guidance of the agency’s Forest Management, Fire and Emergency Response, Silvicultural Water Quality, and State Lands teams. He also oversees the Department’s two seedling nurseries, research initiatives, and the three operational regions.
Assistant State Forester
Terry Lasher was selected as the assistant state forester in 2019. In this role, he leads the Department’s Utilization and Marketing, Urban and Community Forestry, and Forestland Conservation Divisions. Terry also leads the state forester’s strategic initiatives with the Chesapeake Bay, Healthy Watersheds Forest program, Sentinel Landscapes Designation, the Albemarle-Pamlico Basin effort, watershed management programs, and alternative forest products markets, such as carbon and engineered wood industries.
Chief of Administration
Amanda Davis joined the Virginia Department of Forestry in December 2022 as the chief of administration. Prior to joining DOF, she worked at the Virginia Department of Health for 16 years, most recently as the operations director of the Shared Business Services Unit. She has also held the positions of shared business services director-population health, administrative deputy and grants administrator. Amanda has worked for the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Virginia State Bar, Petersburg Bureau of Police, Chesterfield County Police, Chesterfield Planning Department and Hanover Planning Department and served as a consultant for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Director of Communications
Greg Bilyeu joined the Virginia Department of Forestry in 2022 as the director of communications. Prior to joining the agency, he has held positions of increasing responsibility in the areas of communications, public relations, public affairs and creative services. His public service experience includes local government (City of Richmond), state government (Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), and academia (Virginia Commonwealth University and Christopher Newport University).
Chief Human Resources Officer
John Habel joined DOF in 2022 as the agency’s new chief human resources officer. John previously served as a regional human resources manager for Virginia Department of Health. John has enjoyed a varied human resources career with experience in private industry as well as at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He has a bachelor of arts from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from DeVry University.
As executive assistant, Mary Weaver supports the agency’s Executive Leadership Team and the Human Resources Office, serves as secretary for the Board of Forestry advisory board and liaison with the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.