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.
Finance & Office Manager (Director)
I grew up watching my father shape Forest Direct Ltd into what it is today. So after going to uni and managing hospitality venues in Edinburgh and New Zealand, I love being a part of the family business!
My role as Finance & Office Manager involves keeping on top of admin, finances and HR work. This gives me a great opportunity to track all areas of the business, so even though I am not formally trained in forestry, I learn more about it each day.
Our business model enables us to manage projects such as woodland creations, harvesting, restocking and more from start to finish. We can take the brunt of management stress from the woodland owner, meaning they can relax and leave it to the experts.
Planning & Carbon Group Manager
Sam started his forestry education at Newton Rigg where he completed a foundation degree in forest management. Spending his gap year with Forest Direct, Sam became the first full-time member of the team.
During an initial 8-year spell, Sam specialised in the planning side of forestry. In particular long term forest plans and grant applications, completing projects for forest owners as well as alongside other independent consultants and large forestry companies. See Broadmeadows in the case studies for an example of applications he’s been responsible for.
Working part time, Sam returned to university in 2017 and achieved a first-class honours in forest management before completing a masters in climate change at UEA.
Harvesting Support Forester
Finlay’s interest in forestry initially began when he got involved in woodland creation projects on his home farm, with him then progressing to gaining his chainsaw and pesticide certificates at the age of 16. This led to beginning and running his own
firewood business throughout his high school years and university at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).
In 2019 he began his degree studying Rural Business Management and continued working in arboriculture and forestry during this time. Finlay further increased his knowledge of the forestry profession during this period by attending various study tours with the Royal Scottish Forestry Society and work experience at Tilhill Forestry. In 2023 he gained his honours degree from SRUC and began his career in forestry by becoming a Harvesting Support Forester at Forest
“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.”
Forestry Sales Consultant
George, originally from Northern Ireland, – now living in Dalbeattie, spent over 25 years in banking and finance before becoming involved in forestry – originally as a forest owner and then as Executive Director of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.
He has a BSc in Economics and a Foundation Degree in Forestry.
His real area of interest has always been in business development. He has known Jeremy for several years and feels that FDL have the right team to cover the forestry requirements for all sizes of forest enterprise.
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.”
Health & Safety Consultant
Allan hails from Selkirk in the Scottish Borders and formed his business AV Safety Consultants Ltd in 2009. Allan has a vast knowledge of all industries due to working as a Health & Safety consultant for more than 18 years. He specialises in Agriculture, Forestry & Arboriculture, Construction related risk and risk management linked to health and safety performance improvement (behavioural safety and culture). Allan also has a vast knowledge of Manufacturing, including supply chain risk management, health and safety leadership and safety management systems audits.
Allan is a chartered member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH); Allan is also registered with the HSE’s Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR)
“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.