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Alexander L. Friend

Dr. Alexander L. Friend has led the Research and Development (R&D) arm of the USDA Forest Service since 2018.  As the Deputy Chief for Research and Development, Dr. Friend directs and integrates research activities to produce scientific information and develop innovative technologies in support of the sustainable management forests and rangelands.  Dr. Friend leads over 500 research scientists and 1500 administrative personnel across the U.S. in the Washington Office and at five Research Stations located across the country, Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin, and the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Friend joined the Forest Service in 2002 as a project leader and research ecologist at the Northern Research Station in Houghton, Michigan.  From there, he transferred to the Washington Office to serve as research budget coordinator, where he provided support in planning, formulating, monitoring, and executing the R&D budget.  Most recently, Alex has served as the station director for the Pacific Southwest Research Station, where he engaged with forest resource issues in the West through his management of eight research facilities in California, Hawaii, and the US-affiliated Pacific Islands.  Prior to joining the Forest Service, Alex was Professor of Forestry at Mississippi State University from 1989 to 2001.  Alex has a distinguished career of scientific research, teaching, and leadership spanning more than 30 years and continues today with a focus and passion for connecting people to nature.