At the Georgia Forestry Association’s Annual Conference and Forestry Expo on Jekyll Island today, Chairman Joe Parsons of Graphic Packaging International announced Andres Villegas as the next president of the Association. The news was the culmination of a national search process that followed the announcement of the retirement of Steve McWilliams who served as president of the association for 12 years. Villegas will begin his service to the organization on October 16.
Villegas brings to the Association more than 16 years of domestic and international experience in a variety of positions with Weyerhaeuser, Langdale Industries and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Andres is currently serving as plant manager for a Weyerhaeuser Engineered Lumber Product (ELP) mill in Corvallis, Oregon.
“The Association undertook a global search to identify a leader who will ensure our ability to continue to create the healthiest business and political climate for Georgia’s forest environment, forest landowners and forest-based businesses,” Parsons said. “Andres’ deep experience and vast knowledge of working forests locally and globally make him the ideal candidate to lead the nation’s longest-standing forest advocacy organization.”
Since early April, a 13-member search committee, co-chaired by former Executive Committee member Tom Norris of Interstate Paper Company and Past Chairman John Godbee, Jr. of F&W Forestry Services, worked to identify the Association’s next leader. In addition to overall management responsibilities, the president serves as the Association’s chief lobbyist, providing daily representation for the forestry community while the Georgia General Assembly is in session.
“I have a passion for forestry,” Andres said. “Its an integral part of our state’s culture, history and economy. I am excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the needs of the forestry community. Together, I believe we can continue working to ensure that forestry remains a leading industry in Georgia.”
Prior to serving as plant manager for Weyerhaeuser beginning in April 2014, Andres was the president of Catchlight Energy LLC, a joint venture between Chevron and Weyerhaeuser. He was responsible for positioning Catchlight Energy as the preferred partner for advanced biofuels producers utilizing forest-based feed stocks and guiding the commercial, technical and administrative operations of the company. Andres also previously worked for Weyerhaeuser in North Carolina and Uruguay in harvesting logistics and industrial development management roles respectively.
Andres received a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from The University of Georgia and an Executive Certificate of Management and Leadership from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management.