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.
“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 about 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!”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”
Forest Works Supervisor
“I’ve worked for Forest Direct for over 2 years now, starting off as a tree feller and doing some small scale areas of planting too. More recently I’ve taken on the role of Forest Works Site Supervisor.
I heard about the company through my father David who is also a contractor for the business.
I’ve had some huge opportunities since working with Forest Direct. They have helped me learn and take on so much knowledge, confidence and understanding of the industry in a relatively short space of time. From felling trees, ground prep, fencing, peat assessments, organising felling permission applications and so much more. The diversity of the job role is something I love!
Forest Direct has an incredibly strong team, all with different strengths and specialities in vastly different areas of forestry. With this team we can get more trees in the ground than ever before. With efficient management, planning and organising we can do our bit to help combat climate change. In the next 10 years, this team will be unstoppable!”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 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!”
I graduated from Aberdeen University in 2006 and spent my 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.
I developed a real passion for marketing and communications, implementing highly targeted national campaigns spanning experiential, digital and traditional forms of communication. In 2011, I joined Buccleuch Estates, becoming Head of Communications and Community Engagement in 2014 and latterly Head of Communications and Marketing.
In 2020 I took the leap and launched my own communications consultancy Lucy Laidlaw Communication focussing on communications, marketing and community engagement in the rural sector.
I am incredibly passionate about representing rural Scotland and ensuring the contribution of its businesses, is not only recognised publicly and politically but applauded
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.