Georgia Forestry Association member, Rob Olszewski, passed away after a short battle with cancer on April 19. Affectionately referred to by our staff as “Rob O.” we remember his dedication as a tireless advocate for Georgia’s forests and as our friend and colleague.
Anyone who has ever worked on an association staff knows the value of a strong volunteer corps. Associations are probably the place where the well-known ’80/20 Rule’ is best played out – where eighty percent of the work is done by twenty percent of the volunteers. And within that twenty percent that gives so generously of its time and talents, there are a very few who exceed expectations and respond to challenges in a way that set the gold standard for volunteerism.
Rob Olszewski was a ‘gold standard’ association volunteer.
Whether it was for the Georgia Forestry Association, Forest Resources Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, American Forest & Paper Association, Association of Consulting Foresters or any one of several other forestry-related groups, Rob was the ‘go to’ guy when it came to understanding the implications for a host of environmental laws and regulations that stood to alter the way forestry is conducted in Georgia and throughout the country.
He seemed tireless and was a ‘road warrior’ for forestry, always on the move around the U.S helping his company and industry colleagues develop strategies to mitigate the impact of regulatory overreach or to defeat proposals that would be detrimental to the practice of forestry and the best management of timberland.
In his down time with his friends he was just plain fun to be with, always ready to to laugh with you or tease you with a grin so broad it forced his eyes to close momentarily.
If he was your friend, you had a ‘gold standard’ friend as well.
It would be impossible to number the timberland owners and other forestry interests throughout Georgia and this country who every single day benefit from the work that Rob did during his career. Sadly, most will never realize the impact of his contribution to their forests and to the organizations they rely on for protection.
Sometimes we casually throw around the saying that it will be ‘hard to fill one’s shoes’. We know of no place where the truth of that prediction is more fitting.
Thank you Rob. Our loss is both professional and personal and will be very deeply felt for a long, long time.