The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) 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 (VDOF) 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
John joined the Department of Forestry in 2019 as the chief of administration. His duties include management of financial accounting and operations, budget development and implementation, information technology system development and maintenance, and agency facility operation and management. In addition, he is also the agency contact with the Office of the Attorney General and is responsible for agency legislative and regulatory activities.
Chief Officer of Human Capital
Hector Rivera joined the Virginia Department of Forestry in 2017 where he serves as the chief officer of human capital. In this role, he leads all aspects of human resource operations, talent management, human resource information systems, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, workforce planning, and safety.
Director of Public Information
Michelle Stoll has served the Virginia Department of Forestry as director of public information since 2018. In this role, she provides strategic communication leadership for the agency and is responsible for media relations, publication development, outreach and education, and the integrity of the VDOF brand.
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.