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The Richard Strachan Chair in Forest Operations Management seeks to provide knowledge and supply graduates that will help the Pacific Northwest forest sector compete effectively in the international marketplace and help maintain forestland profitability. The chair's research complements a professional forest operations management degree program in the Forest Engineering Department. The program is a unique blend of forestry, technology, business management and entrepreneurship.
Richard Strachan, a 1978 College of Forestry alumnus and director of Miami Corporation, endowed the chair in 2006. "My hope is that the occupant of the chair will make steady contributions to professional and technical knowledge that benefit the state and the forest products industry, and are well-received by his or her peers," Strachan said. “This gift is a challenge to my peers to do more and better things for the College of Forestry that is so important to us, the state and the nation."
Strachan has spearheaded a series of major gifts to the OSU College of Forestry, including the Lee Harris Memorial Forest Management Fund, the Larry Hoffman Scholarship in Wildfire and Ecosystem Health, and the Richard Strachan Forest Engineering Graduate Fellowship.
University Distinguished Professor of Forestry John Sessions was named the first holder of the Strachan Chair in 2008. Sessions is internationally known for his computer models to assist forest planning, and his research in transportation planning, harvest scheduling, forest economics, and logging mechanics.
Currently, his research focuses on creating computer models for forest planning at the landscape level. Recent projects include developing strategic forest planning models for the Tillamook, Clatsop, and Elliott State Forests. His other computer programs have helped loggers and planners maximize the value of timber while protecting environmental quality. Besides assisting the timber industry in the Northwest, Sessions has participated on a number of national and regional science teams and has been an international consultant in fourteen countries on five continents.
A highly respected educator, Sessions won the Aufderheide Award five times as the outstanding teacher in the College of Forestry and the Top Professor award. He has received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Achievement four times. He also has published over 100 refereed professional papers, written or edited all or parts of 19 books and proceedings, and written more than 100 other articles. In addition, he has designed more than 17 computer programs to make logging operations more efficient. He is one of only two OSU faculty to have served on the International Selection Committee for the Marcus Wallenberg International Forestry Prize.
DSessions holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of California at Los Angeles, a master's degree in civil engineering from California State University, Los Angeles, a master's degree in forest engineering from the University of Washington, and a doctorate in forest management from Oregon State University. Dr. Sessions is a registered professional engineer and has been on the OSU faculty since 1983. Prior to joining OSU, Sessions had served in a variety of positions with the US Forest Service and had been an industrial forest harvesting manager of one of the world's largest tropical plantations.