Meet our Team
Introducing Forest Direct’s team, a collective of passionate individuals with vast experience across all aspects of
forestry and woodland consulting and management.
Jeremy’s training began at Newton Rigg, where he completed a National Diploma in Forestry, moving from there to the North East of Scotland, where he began his long and varied career with The Forestry Commission.
With the advent of multi-purpose forestry, Jeremy moved with The Forestry Commission to cover the Scottish Borders and Central Belt, where he was able to play a leading role in the rollout of forest design plans, land acquisitions and woodland creation.
Leading the Forest Management team in the Scottish Borders, he was responsible for planting over a million trees annually. While also driving forward the recreation, community and heritage developments, including the setting up and implementing the Tweed Valley Forest Park.
Jeremy was the founding Secretary and Trustee of the Tweed Forum, a Trustee of Borders Forest Trust and a Council Member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.
He set up Forest Direct Ltd in 2011, using his 46 years of experience to provide advice on all aspects of forestry. His innovative approach to forestry allowing him to make the most of new opportunities.
Planning & Finance Manager
Andy has been in the forestry and wood-using industries for nearly 40 years. He started as a forest worker and worked his way through a National Diploma in Forestry, a Master’s Degree in Forest Management from Aberdeen University and became a Professional Chartered Forester in 1997.
His experience spans the public and private sectors working with organisations such as Forest Enterprise, Blenheim Estates and Buccleuch. He has worked in upland production forestry with over 1m people living within the forest district; lowland broadleaved woodland within a World Heritage Site and Capability Brown landscape, managed complex mixed woodlands within designed landscapes and over 1000ha of Continuous Cover Forestry.
His positions involved business management from sales, marketing, contract negotiation, contract management, legal, financial and operational risk management through to developing biomass renewable energy markets and installing large wood-fired boiler systems for industrial clients.
Alfie’s passion for agriculture and forestry started at a young age, working as a fencing contractor and undertaking first thinnings around his school commitments.
From school, he travelled to New Zealand and spent six months working on a sheep and beef unit.
In 2010 he enrolled at the Royal Agricultural College, where he studied Agriculture and Farm Management followed by a BSc in Countryside Management, Heritage Management and Conservation. After graduation, Alfie launched his own Arboricultural, forestry and consultancy business providing support to the farming and site development sector, gradually transitioning the company to focus on biomass and ground preparation and ultimately selling the business before returning to New Zealand in 2018.
Over the last three years, Alfie has provided consultancy services to several forestry businesses, latterly working for Campbell Contracting in their forestry and land clearing division.
He and his family returned to Scotland in 2021, where he has joined Forest direct as Operations Manager.
“I started my forestry career in Northern Ireland, working for both the state forest service and buying for a sawmill. I then moved to Carlisle and have 28 years of harvesting and marketing in the north of England/ south Scotland, working on a wide range of sites. I have a good knowledge of timber markets, contractors and hauliers and worked the full range of sites from steep ground requiring skyline extraction to sensitive wet bogs, and even horse extraction. Both high production sites and small scale sensitive sites.
At Forest Direct we are independent of timber markets, so can focus on the forest owner’s priorities and objectives. For example, if someone asks me to thin an area, the first thing I ask is ‘What do you want to see here in 20 years? Is it a clearfell and replant, continuous cover, game cover, or a nice looking woodland with a variety of habitats for wildlife. This will dictate the amount we remove, which trees are removed and how often we thin. These are not mutually exclusive from good silviculture and high quality timber production. I believe that good forest management can and should produce all of these outcomes.
If you have a woodland nearing thinning stage give me a call. We need to actively consider thinning of all crops even if the final decision is not to thin. Equally, if your crop is nearing clearfell then impartial advice on the optimum time and markets is essential to maximise your investment.”
Woodland Creation and Carbon Developer
Alice trained as a Geologist (BSc) and later completed a Masters in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with a dissertation focus on developing participatory mapping systems for driving woodland creation. She is passionate about the natural world and the role woodland creation can play in creating resilient ecosystems, producing sustainable timber, connecting people with forests, and rebuilding a lost woodland culture in Scotland.
As a younger member of the team, she brings extensive community and environmental experience having worked for Nature Scot, completed the Climate 2050 Young Leadership Development Program, and played an active role in grassroots projects throughout the last 10-years. She is experienced creating and managing grant-funded projects through to completion and works part-time for The Three Hares Community Woodland with the ethos of improving biodiversity, providing education, and nourishing good health.
“For the last 3 years I have been working hard to establish a career in forestry through a combination of work, volunteering and studying towards an HND in the subject. I was lucky enough to be contacted by Sophie and had a very positive meeting with Jeremy, who has since invited me on to the team. Getting as many of the right trees in the right places is the aim of the game for me, so I’m delighted to now be part of a forward-thinking and driven team who are similarly passionate.
The ongoing focus is for all of us is to operate sustainably and make a positive contribution to reversing the effects of climate change. Something that sets Forest Direct apart is our commitment to plant diverse and resilient trees in consideration of the long-term effects of environmental change. We believe that encouraging farmers and local landowners to plant new woodlands is key in meeting Scotland’s ambitious tree-planting targets. We work very closely with our clients to achieve harmony between business and
We have a responsibility to respond to timber demand in a sustainable manner, whilst also being on the progressive end of environmental restoration. I’m proud to be a part of a company that is leading the way by example.”
“I heard about Forest Direct through David Kennedy, who knew that I study business and work very well with computers. The job gives me the chance to work as part of a team. My role is very important as the other team members rely on me to complete paperwork and invoices as well as other admin work for them.
In my opinion, plans to plant 1 million trees this year and 1.5 million next year will have an incredibly positive impact on the environment. Trees create an ecosystem which provide a habitat and food resources for birds and other wildlife. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gases, then releasing them back into the atmosphere as oxygen. Planting them is crucial for the environment and society as a whole.”
Forestry Grant Scheme Advisor/Woodland Creation Development Officer
“I have been in forestry since the age of 18, and actually went to college with Jeremy. After working in various roles around the UK I eventually ended up in the Scottish Borders where I have been for the last 24 years. Until I started for Forest Direct, I worked for Forestry Commission Scotland in the Grants and Licenses Department.
Designing and working through the process for every grant application and involving the owners along the way is my measure of success in my work. Owners who feel my energy and interest in creating woodland, then ultimately walking in the woodland that they and the grant created is hugely refreshing.
I have absolutely no doubt that Forest Direct, with the team that Jeremy is pulling together, will contribute a considerable amount to tree planting and woodland management in this area and beyond. In reality, planting one tree is a lot more than most people have done to combat climate change. The Forest Direct Team will plant millions. For my part, I will never stop trying to get trees in the ground. Only death will stop me.”
Landscape and Environment Advisor
“After studying Ecological Science at Edinburgh University and then Landscape Design at Newcastle University I have worked as a landscape architect for 38 years in the private and public sector. I recently completed 26 years with Scottish Borders Council, which included consultation advice on the landscape implications of various forest schemes in the area. I am also a foundee and continuing trustee of Borders Forest Trust, which looks to restore lost woodland cover in Southern Scotland.
I’ve known Jeremy for many years. Being someone who is motivated by practical outcomes, and with Forest Direct so focussed on creating new woodlands, it was easy for me to get involved.
My role in the company is focussed on landscape design, so it’s all about making surroundings that are good for people. That means producing forests that are both productive and beautiful. One of the most rewarding aspects of this is that more and more people are realising that restoring and creating woodland is just about the most effective response to climate change.
There could be big changes in the land cover over the South of Scotland over the next 10 years, I expect Forest Direct will be fully involved in that.”
Lucy graduated from Aberdeen University in 2006 and spent her early career at one of the UK’s leading public relations consultancies working with high profile brands including O2, AirFrance, KLM, Famous Grouse and The Scottish Government.
She developed a real passion for marketing and communications, implementing highly targeted national campaigns spanning experiential, digital and traditional forms of communication. In 2011, she joined Buccleuch Estates, becoming Head of Communications and Community Engagement in 2014 and latterly Head of Communications and Marketing.
In 2020 she took the leap and launched her own communications consultancy Lucy Laidlaw Communication focussing on communications, marketing and community engagement in the rural sector.
“I was born in Malaya and brought up on my parents farm in Lanarkshire. After initial thoughts to study forestry in Canada, I went on to study agriculture At West of Scotland Agricultural College.
In 2014 I bought a 29ha wood and then in 2018 created a 265ha forest, all with the help of Forest Direct. After a great experience with them I went on to recommend them to other potential clients, this resulted in Jeremy asking me to become an ambassador for the company which I gladly accepted.
I feel that working for Forest Direct will empower me to make a real difference in the current environmental climate. The goal is to get more trees in the ground and help to influence politicians and powerful heads of industry on the important role that agriculture and forestry play in being the lungs of the world.”
Starting a Career in Forestry
We are all passionate about our sector and would encourage anyone with an interest in forestry and the environment to find out more about the different careers available.
Lantra Scotland has created an induction pack to help guide people on their route to a career in forestry.