TEAM MEMBERS

Meet our team members.

Our team members are all skilled and integral in our business, and continue to raise the bar in their respective service fields.

Jeremy Thompson

Jeremy Thompson

Director

“I set up the business in 2003 as a limited company. It is a huge passion of mine, you must eat, sleep
and breathe it. It is so much more than just a job! Being up in the morning before most people are
out of bed, walking through woodland with my 4-legged assistant Jess is an incredibly special feeling.
Teamwork and respect are hugely important when growing the business and team. Therefore,
working with likeminded people who really care abut what they do is at the very heart of the
business. This goes hand in hand with our extremely satisfied customer base.
Going forward our focus is to plant more trees in order to sequester carbon and diversify farming.
This is achieved by planting new woodlands and by felling and restocking existing woodlands. We
planted 1 million trees this year and have 1.5 million to plant next year… the only way is up!”

ANDY WISEMAN

ANDY WISEMAN

Planning & Finance Manager

Professional Chartered Forester

“I have met Jeremy several times over the last 20 years but only worked with him for the first time in 2018. At that point, we started talking more about forestry and Forest Direct and I realised I had met a likeminded forester with a similar vision and philosophy. I was flattered and delighted when I was asked to join the team.

Since taking on my role, I am pleased to have been able to use my experience to help develop the business that Jeremy has built up over the years.

It’s good to work for a company that aims for high-quality results because, even if we miss, we still get a very good outcome for our clients. It helps enormously that we have a team that wants to do their best, who are passionate about what they do and who are willing to spend the time to plan their work properly.

Communications are key to achieving our goals. Keeping ourselves and our clients informed allows us to offer top quality service and value for money. Our work speaks for itself and people will appreciate our open and honest business ethic. Our philosophy of “Excellence through Teamwork” has a major positive impact on our work and our ability to deliver the objectives for our business and our business partners alike.”

David Kennedy

David Kennedy

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.”

Mike Maud

Mike Maud

Woodland Carbon Sequestration Scheme

“Jeremy and I go back a very long way, we have known each other since 1966! After spending much
of our lives on opposite ends of the country, I’ve now settled in the Scottish Borders. I’m delighted
that Jeremy has asked me to become involved.
I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of getting my head around the complexities of the Woodland
Carbon Code. My goal is to be a part of it’s further development and ensure it brings added value to
the company and facilitates real additionality in terms of more trees in the ground.
Furthermore, learning new skills and acquiring new knowledge make every day spent on the job
interesting and rewarding. Going out on site and seeing the world of spreadsheets and maps as
reality is great.
While carbon sequestration alone can’t provide the answers and must not become an excuse for
inaction in relation to radically reducing emissions, getting more people involved in planting trees
has a significant part to play in both addressing net emissions and raising awareness about the
bigger picture.”

Chris Reid

Chris Reid

Establishment Operations Manager

“I first heard of the company through a Forest Direct Operations sign near Yair. Being an Establishment and Operations Contractor I was keen to find out more so Googled the company and gave Jeremy a call. I have been working closely with Forest Direct ever since, delivering everything from large scale plantations down to small farmland shelter belts. It was through this close working relationship I found that we strive for the same things and in turn I was asked to join the Forest Direct team.

A great success since working with the company was delivering a 256Ha scheme for, our now, ambassador Alec Telfer. He took a great leap into the unknown with the project and is on course to reap the rewards.

Personally, I see Forest Direct being one of the leading consultancy companies in this area. This is because of their strong connections in the farming community, their unique approach with clients along with the added ethos of ‘Excellence Through Teamwork’ with all contractors involved. Alongside this, the positive impact on the environment will grow rapidly year by year.”

Elaine Hunter

Elaine Hunter

Accounts and Administration

“Having worked with Jeremy on a number of Harvesting Contracts since 2015, our paths had crossed a few times. When he mentioned he was looking for someone to help with accounts and admin I offered my knowledge, and now I’m part of the team!

My aim is to put new systems in place within the office to create a smooth running of accounts in order to complement the rest of the team. When I do manage to get out of the office and onto some of the sites it is great. I get to be more involved with other team members and get to the heart of what Forest Direct is all about.

The knowledge, drive, and determination of the experienced management team Jeremy has put into place, mean the only way is up. With the harvesting and restocking of more trees in the ground, Forest Direct is definitely playing their part in countering climate change.”

Rebecca Kennedy

Rebecca Kennedy

Forest Works Site Supervisor

“I heard about Forest direct through my father David who is a contractor for the company. After hearing about a role coming up I joined the team and have been a part of it for just over 2 years now. I began as a tree feller and doing some small scale areas of planting and have now taken on the role of Forest Works Site Supervisor. 

I’ve had some huge opportunities since beginning work with Forest Direct. The team have helped me learn and take on so much knowledge, confidence and understanding of the industry in a relatively short space of time. This includes tree felling, ground prep, fencing, peat assessments, tree felling applications plus much, much more. The diversity of the role is something I love.

Forest Direct has an incredibly strong team with a wide breadth of strengths and specialties in different areas of forestry. Because of this we can get more trees in the ground than ever before. With our blend of efficient management, planning and organising we can do our bit to help combat climate change. In the next 10 years our team will be unstoppable!

Jim Knight

Jim Knight

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.”

Kamila Hankus

Kamila Hankus

Administration Report

“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.”

Alec Telfer

Alec Telfer

Company Ambassador

“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.”

Sophie Thompson

Sophie Thompson

Media

“I first heard about Forest Direct because my Dad, Jeremy, started it. The company has basically
always played some role in my life, whether that be Dad telling me about his day or meeting
members of the team who have been visiting the house. Additionally, it has never been an
uncommon occurrence to stop at a few farms or estates when heading off on a family trip, which
was usually ok, except if we were on the way to the airport!!
I’ve only been working for Forest Direct for about 3 months. So far I am very proud of the work
myself and a local company I found called Reid Design have put into relaunching a brand new
website for the business. I will continue to update our online platforms while also working on
marketing and an improved comms strategy. Living in New Zealand it hasn’t always been easy to
time things right to communicate with the rest of the team, but we have managed ok on both
hemispheres which is very promising going forward!
I am really in awe of the work Forest Direct is doing from both a personal and professional
perspective. Having seen Dad begin on his own with only a few clients and 2 team members to help
him, to now ordering literally over a million trees and having so many team members onboard is so
amazing and inspiring. I couldn’t be happier to now be a part of it.”

Sam Guthrie

Sam Guthrie

Forest Manager

“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
sustainable land-use.
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.”

Alice Brawley

Alice Brawley

GIS Officer

“I was hired as the GIS Officer in October 2019 to take care of the mapping-side of the business and assist with wider project delivery. I have a background in Geology and recently completed an MSc in GIS at Edinburgh University. I am passionate about the natural world and have various experience in practical conservation management, including a year working for Scottish Natural Heritage and my current involvement in a community woodland outside Edinburgh.

I am particularly interested in sustainable woodland creation and management for restoring degraded habitats, storing carbon and mitigating flooding – all of which are essential in our response to the climate emergency. Forest Direct are a progressive company who have built up a team of experienced and passionate employees working to plant more trees and generate high-quality timber production in a more sustainable way. A very satisfying and inspiring company to work for!”