Hello fellow IWCS members. My name is Mark Duff, and I will proudly serve as your new President for the next two years. Most of you do not know me since I have not served as an officer with the IWCS. However, I have been a member of the IWCS for over 30 years and helped organize the 50th AGM in Texas back in 1997. I have a lot to learn, not just from the seasoned veterans, but from all of you. Please be patient with me as I begin my duties.
I grew up in Venezuela and Puerto Rico. I went to Sierra College in California for a Forestry Technology degree in 1978. I then went to Colorado State University for a degree in Natural Resource Management and Forestry. I married and moved to Arkansas and worked there with Winrock International (plus a few other places) and got a Master’s in Public Administration at UALR. My wife (PhD in nutrition) and I then moved to San Antonio, and I worked there with Texas A&M Forest Service for 27 years. I am semi-retired working in my shops, playing a little guitar and tennis, working with wood, and doing a little forestry consulting work. I have a mere 1,200 specimens in my standard wood sample collection.
The last two and a half years with COVID-19, and all the stress that it has brought to us and many other organizations across the world, and as it starts to wind down, means the time has come to take a deep breath and strive together to move forward in a positive way. After all, we are a group of volunteers who love wood and want to have an enjoyable experience as members. We need to eliminate contention in our lives. So, please be compassionate, understanding, slow to judge, and quick to forgive as we move onto this next chapter with the IWCS.
We have a great international team of past leaders, editors, secretaries, treasurers, officers, regional directors, board members, and all others who I will be counting on to help move us forward. It will need to be done collectively, as I alone will be incapable to do.