COLLEGE STATION, Texas —Texas A&M Forest Service Assistant Director Wes Moorehead is the recipient of a Texas A&M University System Regents Fellow Service Award for 2019 – 2020.
Moorehead has received this award for his extraordinary contributions to the State and People of Texas through the conservation and protection of forests and natural resources, as well as his cultivation of the people, programs and communities responsible for the stewardship of these resources.
“The key to success in this business is surprisingly not the forests, it’s the people,” said Tom Boggus, State Forester and Director of Texas A&M Forest Service. “Over the years, Wes has shown natural leadership by always putting people – landowners, partners, employees – first.”
During his 19-year career with Texas A&M Forest Service, Moorehead has served in multiple roles, giving him a broad perspective of the agency. He started in 2001 as a Forest Inventory and Analysis forester in Kirbyville before moving into a district forester role, first in Jasper, and later in Marshall. He then served as a regional forester in Nacogdoches leading all agency natural resource and protection programs across 15 counties in Central East Texas.
In 2012, Moorehead was promoted to Department Head of East Texas Operations overseeing all of the agency’s forestry and firefighting efforts for 12 million forested acres spanning three regions, for 250,000 family forest landowners in 54 counties, 18 districts, a dozen programs and 145 employees.
Moorehead has climbed agency ranks through the years by consistently performing exemplary work and making key contributions in forestry and wildfire programs throughout the state.
“He fully understands and embraces the total program concept,” said Boggus. “Everything the agency does in forestry and fire is connected.”
Today, Moorehead helps lead the Forest Resource Protection division tasked with wildland fire suppression.
Personnel within the division work with communities, partners and fire departments to prevent, prepare for and suppress wildland fire. They help build the capacity to protect against wildfires at the local level by providing training, safety gear and firefighting vehicles and equipment. They study weather patterns and the status of vegetation across the state to predict when and where dangerous wildfire conditions may occur. In addition, they maintain a statewide network of strategically-placed teams of firefighters and equipment to be able to respond quickly.
“Texas is a big state,” said Boggus. “No single response agency can protect us from all disasters. We coordinate with and work with multiple jurisdictions across the state, and that takes leadership and service – and someone like Wes.”
As Assistant Director, Moorehead will continue to cultivate those working relationships to help protect lives and property and elevate incident response capabilities at the local, state and national levels.
“Texas A&M Forest Service is 500-strong, but that’s just a drop in the bucket for a state the size of Texas and for the scope of what we are tasked with doing,” said Moorehead. “Working with other agencies is an essential force multiplier and a natural fit for us.”
Looking toward the future, Moorehead says he is excited to be able to combine our agency natural resource management expertise with our firefighters’ experience and leadership to help create a safer, more fire resilient state.
“I am proud to be part of a land grant university system that values the ability to leverage knowledge from over the years and use it to help educate Texans and Texas communities in conserving and protecting our natural resources and one another,” said Moorehead.
Moorehead is one of seven professionals to receive the Regents Fellow Award this year.
The Regents Fellow Service Awards program was established in 1998 and the Regents Professor Awards program in 1996 recognizing employees who have made exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.
Read the full Texas A&M University System news release at https://www.tamus.edu/texas-am-system-regents-approve-22-regents-professors-and-regents-fellows-2/