Leadership Team

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


State Forester
Rob Farrell

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.

Rob Farrell was appointed as the eighth state forester of Virginia by Governor Ralph Northam in January 2018. Rob joined VDOF as an area forester serving Gloucester and Mathews counties in 2000. He has also served the agency as the first director of the forestland conservation program and as deputy state forester. Rob has long been a leader in Virginia’s forestry community, and in 2017 he was recognized with the Outstanding Member of the Year Award from the Virginia Forestry Association.

Prior to VDOF, Rob worked as an arborist and urban forester in Virginia and Maryland. He is an ISA-certified arborist and has a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry from Virginia Tech.

When Rob is not performing his executive duties, his colleagues make use of his extensive experience and knowledge as an arborist.

Show More >

Deputy State Forester
Ed Zimmer

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.

Prior to this role, Ed served the Commonwealth as the agency’s chief of operations and as a regional Forester in Waverly and Charlottesville. Prior to Virginia Department of Forestry, Ed held several roles in forest industry in Eastern Virginia and served five years in the United States Army.

Originally from Maryland, Zimmer now resides in Fluvanna County with his wife and youngest son. He received his bachelor’s in forest resources management from West Virginia University in 1990 and his master’s in business administration from Averett University in 1998.

Show More >

Assistant State Forester
Terry Lasher

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.

Terry previously served the Virginia Department of Forestry in multiple positions from a resource conservation and development forester in the Tappahannock area, to local forester positions in Virginia’s Coastal Plain, Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia. Most recently, Terry served as the regional forester in the Eastern Region of Virginia.

Prior to his assistant state forester position, Terry spent the last 20+ years serving the Commonwealth and the forestry profession in multiple leadership roles while being an active member of forestry-based organizations and forming strong partnerships with agencies, non-profits, and localities. Since 2001, Terry and his teams of foresters created multiple inaugural programs around forest management, education, wildlife management, and internship programs.

Terry has a forest technician degree from the New York State Ranger School, a B.S. in Forest Resource Management from Virginia Tech, and a M.A. in Executive Leadership from Liberty University.

Show More >

Chief of Administration
Vacant


Director of Communications
Greg Bilyeu

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).

In his role as director of communications at Forestry, Greg leads all internal and external communications efforts, acts as primary agency spokesperson and point of contact for the media, and enhances the agency’s outreach and engagement efforts. His focus areas include messaging and content creation, branding, social media, creative storytelling, and strengthening collaboration with partner agencies and organizations.

Greg is a Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute graduate (2019) and received his Bachelor of Arts in Communications, and Master of Arts in English from Old Dominion University.

Show More >

Chief Officer of Human Capital
Hector Rivera

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.

Prior to his transition to our Commonwealth’s government and leadership, Hector honorably served our nation as an Army officer for more than two decades. An operational and strategic leader with extensive experiences highlighted by service in our nation’s capital as senior staff officer under the chairman of joint chiefs of staff in the pentagon, non-profit service as chairman of the board at various Hispanic ministries, and as pro-bono advisor to professional baseball leagues within the Caribbean on stadium security. Dedicated to building communities, he served in the Chesterfield County Public Schools’ Equity Committee and continues his role as advisory board member for Central Michigan University.

His education includes a bachelor’s in business, master’s of public administration, master’s in political science and international development, and a doctoral education in policy, planning, and leadership at The College of William and Mary.

A native of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he has called Virginia home for nearly two decades and resides with his wife in Manakin Sabot (Goochland County) and are officially empty nesters, having raised their two boys into mature young men.

Show More >

Executive Assistant
Mary Weaver

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.

Mary Weaver joined Virginia Department of Forestry as executive assistant in September 2014. Prior to VDOF, Mary worked as clerk to the Board of Supervisors and administrative assistant for Fluvanna County. She also proudly served in and retired from the Virginia Air National Guard.

Show More >