Ferdie Brauckmann
Executive Executive General Manager - Timber, TWK Agri, Swaziland

Ferdie Brauckmann is currently the Executive General Manager - Timber at TWK Agri in Swaziland.

South African born, Ferdie started his career in the Chemical and Logistics industry in 1996 when he joined Sappi Forests. He gained experience in the Timber Industry of Africa through the various positions held during his employment with Sappi Forests. In 2001 he initiated and successfully implemented a Woodchip Export Facility in Durban Port in a joint venture company.

Ferdie is a graduate from the University of Johannesburg and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Investment Management. He also serves on timber industry boards in South Africa, and in Swaziland.

Trent Bunderson
Co-Founder and Executive Director, Total LandCare, Lilongwe, Malawi

Trent Bunderson is a citizen of the USA but was raised in Kenya and has worked in the East-Southern Africa region for over 40 years. He has a Ph.D in rangeland ecology based on a 3 year eco-system study of wildlife in north-eastern Kenya. From 1980-2011, he served with International Programs at Washington State University to attract and implement development grants and contracts in East and Southern Africa.

Trent is currently the Executive Director of Total LandCare, a non-governmental organization which he co-founded with Zwide Jere in 1999 to improve the livelihoods of rural communities in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique and the management of their natural resources.

Trent has been instrumental in securing funding from multiple donors totaling over $100 million to implement and manage TLC projects in agriculture, forestry and conservation in Malawi and neighboring countries.

Chris Burchmore
FSC Regional Director, Africa

Chris Burchmore is the Forest Stewardship Council Regional Director for Africa, a position he has held since June 2013. Here he has been responsible for strengthening FSC’s position from political and market perspectives in Africa. Over the last four years he has strategically lead the development of FSC across the African continent and coordinated FSC’s official representation in the region.

Prior to joining FSC, he led an Environmental Team within a multi-national plantation forestry company in South Africa. Here Mr. Burchmore gained experience with regard to strategic planning, determining high conservation value areas, and technical and operational planning in forestry areas. He facilitated the road testing of the ‘Corporate Ecosystem Services Review’, an international project lead by the World Resources Institute. Chris had an instrumental role in the Mondi Wetland Programme over a period of eight years initiating the first ever ‘State of the Wetlands Report’ for a large land owner.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in responsible plantation forestry management and a growing knowledge in sustainability and responsible land practices.

Charl de Villiers
Principal, Pöyry Management Consulting UK Limited

Charl de Villiers is a forestry professional with over 18 years of experience. As a Principal with Pöyry Management Consulting he advises clients from both investment and industry sectors on forest related topics such as investment/ divestment decisions, asset performance assessments, investor reviews, market studies, appraisals, wood flow and market allocation.

Charl has extensive experience with a variety of different temperate and tropical short and long rotation tree crops and has worked on projects across Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America.

Charl is currently based in London where he is the head of Pöyry’s Forestry team, he also leads the company’s business development in Africa. Prior to living in the UK, Charl was based in New Zealand where he worked for Pöyry NZ as well for a a large forestry company, Ernslaw One. Prior to this, he worked in South Africa for an international hard board producer, Masonite Africa.

Robert (Bob) Flynn
Director, International Timber, RISI, USA

Robert (Bob) Flynn is Director, International Timber for RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

Bob has more than 30 years experience in the forest industry, including 9 years as a forester for Champion International in Oregon. He has spent the past 20+ years as a consultant to the industry, with a focus on analysis of timber supply and demand trends outside of North America; international trade of logs, woodchips, and biomass; and trends in international timberland investment.

He joined RISI in April 2006, and has published two reports on China's timber supply and demand; a global comparison of planted forest economics and investment attractiveness for tree farm development; a profile of India's forest products industry; an analysis of the impact of Russia's log export tax on Asian log markets; annual reports on international trade in woodchips and biomass; and most recently he published a report on South American plantation forestry and bioenergy markets.

He holds a BA degree in geography from the University of Texas, a BS degree in forest management from Northern Arizona University and an MS in economics from the University of Oregon

Emmanuel Groutel
Development Manager, CBG - Compagnie des Bois d Gabon - Port-Gentil, GABON

Emmanuel Groutel  holds a PhD and is an economist in the Timber Industry,  and an Associate Professor and Researcher at several Universities. He currently has the role as Development Manager for CBG - Compagnie des Bois d Gabon. 

He has been a woodworking professional for more than 30 years, working in many countries but in particular on the African Continent.  His fields of expertise are the timber economy, international flows, trade of wood and wood products, and forest products marketing. 

Dr. Groutel is the former General Delegate of ATIBT.


Tevis Howard
Founder & CEO, Komaza, Kilifi, Kenya & San Francisco, USA

Tevis Howard is Founder & CEO of Komaza, a company scaling up a smallholder farmer forestry in Kenya.

Raised in Silicon Valley, California, Tevis was a science nerd in his youth: during a gap year in Kenya he developed a new method to assess children’s immunity to malaria, and he earned a BS in Neuroscience from Brown University with plans to spend his career developing brain-computer interfaces.

After a quarter-life existential crisis, he pivoted to forestry, founding Komaza in 2005. What he lacks in academic forestry credentials, he’s made up for with a ton of trial and error. Komaza’s smallholder model has demonstrated breakthrough cost savings over large plantations, while creating life-changing income for some of Africa’s poorest families.

Tevis was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and has raised over $13M of impact and venture capital funding to scale up Komaza’s high-impact, low-cost, tech-enabled forestry model.

Paul Jacovelli
Head of Forest Investment Division at UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use GmbH, Germany

Paul studied forestry at the Universities of Wales (BSc) and Oxford (MSc). Paul’s 30-year profession career has focused predominantly on plantation de-velopment in East and Southern Africa, working with both the public and private sectors. Paul has a broad, practical background and in depth knowledge of tropical silviculture and its impact on a forestry business.

Paul’s recent work includes planning and management to increase the value of large plantation investments as well as advice on how to include small growers into appropriate value chains. Paul was the principle driver of Uganda’s Sawlog Production Grant Scheme (SPGS) from 2003-2012: SPGS is widely considered a success story, with around 50,000 hectares established mostly by small landowners and entrepreneurs.Paul is currently advising the World Bank on setting up a similar scheme in Mozambique.

In 2016, Paul was appointed Head of Forest Investment Division at UNIQUE forestry and land Use GmbH, based in Freiburg, Germany.

Stephen Jennings
Founder & CEO, Rendeavour

Stephen Jennings, who has been living and working in emerging markets for over 20 years, is a pioneer of capital markets in Central & Eastern Europe and Africa, responsible for over $200 billion of investment flows to these regions.

As the Founder & CEO of Rendeavour, Mr. Jennings manages the land portfolio and projects of Africa’s largest urban developer, with over 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of urban land near high-growth cities in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr. Jennings founded Renaissance Group in 1995, building investment banking, securities sales and trading, asset management and consumer finance businesses across Central & Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

Producing more than 3,000 research reports on Africa, Renaissance’s notable achievements on the continent include the first IPOs on several African exchanges.

Since 2012, Mr. Jennings has focused on building a pan-African urban development business, of which he is the majority shareholder.

During the period between 1983 and 1992, Mr. Jennings worked at Credit Suisse First Boston in New Zealand and in the New Zealand Treasury. He also consulted for the governments of New Zealand and Australia on issues of privatization.

Mr. Jennings holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Massey University and a master of Economics 1st class from the University of Auckland.

Mr. Jennings is featured in the recently published book "Bankers Who Changed the World”.

Jarl Kosberg
Chief Operating Officer

Jarl Kosberg holds a Batchelor in Business and Administration from Trondheim F&A Academy (DHT) and a Master in Science & Technology from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and has continued with various post graduate trainings undertaken at Advanced Project Management (NTNU), Business and Investment (IDM, Lausanne; Exxon School), Safety and Integrity in Business (Aker).

In 1984 Jarl joined Exxon Exploration and Production, Norway, in the role of Mechanical and Navel Architectural Engineer, performing technical assessment and studies for off-shore operations and projects with extensive work on offshore production installations.

Jarl then spent the next 20 years in various positions in many international locations. These included CEO/General Manager, Project Management, Business and Project Development in engineering companies and mechanical industries and various manufacturing, energy projects including renewables and non-renewables, and high-tech developments.

In 2008 Jarl took up the role of Senior and Executive Vice President, International Projects and Operations Statkraft – SN Power, Norway and International, with responsibility for development and construction of renewable energy projects in developing countries.

Jarl is currently Chief Operating Officer of Green Resources in Norway, Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda responsible for forestry and industrial operations and development, a position he has held since October 2016.

Zelda la Grange
Former Personal Assistant to Mr Nelson Mandela

Zelda la Grange was born in apartheid South Africa. After her secondary education, she completed a 3-year National Diploma.

She started her career in 1992 at the Department of State Expenditure and in 1994 applied for a job in the Office of the first democratic Presidency.In 1999, President Mandela hand-picked her from his personal staff to remain in his services beyond retirement. Together with Professor Jakes Gerwel, Zelda was the only other founding staff member of the post-Presidential Office of Mr Nelson Mandela from where the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established.

Zelda served President Mandela in various capacities over 19 years including Executive Personal Assistant, Spokesperson, Manager of Stakeholder relations, Aide-de-camp and Manager of his private office until his death on 5 December 2013. She has been awarded by a number of organisations for her dedication and service to the late Nelson Mandela.

She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation, non-executive Director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands and annually acts as a co-ordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day through which she pays tribute and disseminates the lessons learnt from her former boss in a charitable way. She is also a part-time employee of the Foundation for Professional Development where she presents leadership training.

On June 19th 2014 she published her memoirs entitled “Good Morning, Mr Mandela”, and continues to inspire people through motivational speaking by sharing her life experiences on the international speaker circuit.

João Lé
CEO, Portucel Mozambique (part of The Navigator Company Group)

João Lé has been employed by The Navigator Company for 27 years and since July 2016 has been CEO of Portucel Moçambique, a Navigator Group company that owns two land concessions (DUAT) of 356,000 hectares in Mozambique in the provinces of Zambézia and Manica for eucalyptus plantations and Pulp production.

Prior to this he was Forestry Director at The Navigator Company in Portugal, responsible for managing 120,000 hectares of forest areas certified by FSC and PEFC, board member of Afocelca (forest fire protection organization) and member of Raiz (an R&D partnership institute of the Navigator Group).

João has a degree in Agronomy, Agricultural Economics and a postgraduate degree in Forestry from the Institute of Agronomy of the University of Lisbon and a Specialization in Finance from the ISCTE Instituto Universitário de Lisboa.

Hans Lemm
CEO, Kilombero Valley Teak Company

Mr Hans Lemm is the CEO of the Kilombero Valley Teak Company (‘KVTC’), Africa’s largest private teak plantation. Aside of his role at KVTC Mr Lemm is a Director of Cape Pine Investment Holdings in South Africa and works with the Criterion Africa Partner’s forestry team on investment due diligence in East Africa. Mr Lemm also serves on the Advisory Board of the Forest Development Trust in Tanzania.

Since 2002 Mr Lemm has worked in a variety of roles in the East African forestry sector and has built up extensive experience and network across the region.

Prior to joining KVTC, Mr Lemm worked with Tembo Chipboards, Green Resources A/S, Tanganyika Wattle Company and Equatoria Teak Company in a variety of roles and functions.

Dr Andrew Morris
Director, Institute for Commercial Forestry Research, South Africa

Dr Andrew Morris is the current Director of the Institute for Commercial Forestry Research in South Africa.

A career in research supporting sustainable industrial wood plantation production that spans more than 35 years began in Swaziland with the then Usutu Pulp Company and includes most recently 15 years as General Manager for Research and Nurseries with Sappi Forests before joining the ICFR in 2013.

Andrew has been involved in several forestry feasibility studies in Africa, South America, China and South East Asia. Industry roles have included Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Camcore International Tree Improvement Cooperative and Leader of the Forestry South Africa funded ‘South African Pitch Canker Control Programme’.

He is currently Editor-in-Chief for Southern Forests: A Journal of Forest Science, is an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is author and co-author of more than thirty-five peer reviewed scientific papers, has presented at numerous conference, symposium and workshop meeting and was the recipient, in 2016, of the Southern African Institute of Forestry ‘Distinguished Forestry Award’.

Dennis Neilson
Director, DANA (NZ) Ltd, New Zealand

Dennis is a Director of the New Zealand based forest industry advisory, publishing and conference and industry tour organising company, DANA (NZ) Limited.

Dennis has had previous experience in almost all aspects of the forestry and forest products sector working for Fletcher Challenge, and regularly travels to several overseas countries to update his information base on the industry. He has been a Director of TIMO, a eucalyptus plantation- owning company, and a wood export company.

Dennis has been the author/co-author of eleven editions of the New Zealand Forest Industry Sector Review, the most recent published in 2018. He co-authored the 2017 Global Tree Farm Review published by Boston based RISI. Most recently Dennis co-authored a Special Market Analysis Study entitled “Russian Timber: A Growing Force in World Trade” which was published by Fastmarkets RISI in early 2019.

In 2018 Dennis and DANA (NZ) Ltd planned and organised Conferences and Field Trips in Taupo, New Zealand; Launceston, Australia; Villahermosa and Cancun, Mexico; and a co-organised Conference with RISI in New York City; as well as an Industry Tour to China.

2019 – 2020 DANA Events include a co-organised 3- event week with Fastmarkets RISI in the United Kingdom; a Forestry & Agri-Business Investors Tour to Ecuador; Industry tours in New Zealand; Japan; Uruguay; Western Australia and China; and Conference and Field Trips in Brisbane, Australia; New Zealand; South Africa

Craig Norris
Chairman, South African Forestry Assurance Scheme (SAFAS)

Craig Norris started his career in Forestry in 1988 when he was employed by the Institute for Commercial Research (ICFR) as a research officer and spent 7 years working in the plantation establishment and regeneration programmes.

Craig joined NCT timber Co-operative as a Technical Forester in 1998, and has been employed at NCT for 20 years and is currently the Manager of the Forestry Technology Department. This Department looks after NCT’s Research and Development investment including tree improvement, mapping, planning and certification.

In 1999 Craig developed a Group Certification Scheme for NCT which was the first FSC Group Scheme to be accredited in the southern hemisphere. NCT was also one of the first organisation to be issued with a FSC SLIMF certificate. Craig is currently the Chairman of the South African Forestry Assurance Scheme which is developing a certification system for PEFC endorsement.

Tapani Pahkasalo
Vice-President, Timberland Investment, Quantum Global, Switzerland

Mr. Tapani Pahkasalo holds a M.Sc. in forest economics from University of Helsinki and is a forestry investment professional with focus on emerging markets. He has plenty of fieldwork experience from Latin America, Russia, China and Africa. Mr Pahkasalo has worked over 10 years with forest industry feasibility studies, investment strategies, and forest asset valuations. He worked for Indufor in Finland, in the last position as Head of Forest Investment Services Consulting.

He was employed by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva (2009) as Project Leader for the Forest Products Annual Market Review. Before the consulting career he worked in the Finnish Forest Research Institute. He started his career as intern at the UNECE in Geneva in 2003. Currently he works as VP, Timberland Investment at Quantum Global Group in Switzerland. He is involved in deal sourcing, investment evaluation, execution and deal closing. He prepares investment decisions for the investment committee and manages portfolio companies.

Mr. Pahkasalo has authored several market studies over the years, in African context the most relevant being the “Timber Market Dynamics in the Tanzania and Key Export Markets”. 

Ole C Sand
Managing Partner, Criterion Africa Partners

Ole C. Sand is the Managing Partner of Criterion Africa Partners and has been responsible for leading the Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund investment program since its inception in 2009.  He has over 35 years of experience in forestry, international finance, venture capital, investment banking, and multilateral development financing.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Sand served as the transaction leader for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on a broad cross-section of sectors and countries.  Mr. Sand also led the IFC’s Forest Products Sector group where he invested $1.4 billion and catalyzed an additional $6.5 billion in co-investments into the forestry sector.  Prior to joining the IFC, Mr. Sand worked in investment and commercial banking in his native country of Norway.

Mr. Sand has a BS from the University of Lund, Sweden, an MBA in Finance from the University of California, Berkeley, Norwegian Law School (section 1 of 3) from University of Oslo, Norway and a PhD in International Business from UCLA.

Frightone Sichone
Managing Director, ZAFFICO, Zambia

Mr. Frightone Sichone is CEO of Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited.

He holds a Bachelor and Master of Laws from the University of Zambia with specialisation in land administration, land tenure, land rights of indigenous people and land acquisition procedures for both local and foreign investment. 

Mr. Frightone Sichone has been CEO of the company for the last 7 years, during which period the company has gone through a major transformation of moving from a loss making to profitable one, expanding forest plantation areas by acquisition of more than 50, 000 hectares in the last 5 years.  The Company has set up a Timber Treatment Plant which is to be commissioned this year.  He therefore possesses experience in land and forest management practices in the Republic of Zambia

Pierre Tullis
Founder and Managing Director, African Certification and Testing (ACT)

Pierre’s far-reaching knowledge of the wood preservation industry spans over 22 years. He counsels Wooden Pole Treatment stakeholders throughout Africa on the causes and prevention of wooden pole failures.

Pierre participated in developing SANS 754 to be in line with all international specifications. He works closely with Eskom to ensure the quality of poles supplied to the Utility Company is of their expected standing. (Eskom South Africa’s failure rate of wooden poles is below 5% which is very low in comparison to the rest of Africa.)

In 2017 Pierre establishd ACT, the first independent Certification Body (CB) specific to the transmission and utility pole industry with an endorsed mark scheme for the benefit of large Utility Companies in Africa.

Pierre held the position of CEO of South African Utility Pole Association for 11 years. He is also a Director of Siyafundisa Training a training service provider, developed specifically for the wood preservation and forestry industry, and holds a BA (ED) PHYS ED Degree and Hons Degree in Human Movement Science.

Pieter van Zyl
Chief Executive Officer, York Timber Holdings

Pieter van Zyl holds a BSc Agric (Pretoria); BSc Agric Economics Hons (Pretoria); and MBL (Unisa).

Pieter has considerable experience in manufacturing and the solid wood processing industry. He has a successful track record in delivering complex change and returning companies to profitability. His leadership in cost optimisation and knowledge of market dynamics distinguishes him in the industry.

His vision and ability to inspire teams are significant in executing growth strategies. This, coupled with his skill in identifying strategic investment opportunities, provides a solid platform for success.

Pieter has a wealth of timber and sawmilling industry knowledge and expertise. His diverse skills cover manufacturing, marketing, change management, investment banking, people and strategy development.

Professor Steve Verryn
Research Associate, Merensky, Johannesburg, South Africa

Steve Verryn obtained his MSc in Quantitative Genetics in 1985 (University of Pretoria), and his PhD in Quantitative Genetics (University of Pretoria) (1994). He is a C1 rated Scientist, according to the National Research Foundation (NRF) system.

In 1994 Steve joined the CSIR, and built a team of 18 tree breeders during his 20 years there. He also occupied the vice-chair position as operational unit Fellow for the Science, Engineering and Technology leadership portfolio for Natural Resources and the Environment. Since June 2011 he has been an Extraordinary Professor at the Forest and Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria. He is also an Associate of Merensky in his capacity of managing, supporting and advising the Merensky tree breeding and wood processing research programs. Steve also mentors and supports various other groups in South Africa and abroad.

Steve has served as consultant, external reviewer and examiner to various scientific bodies, companies and universities in South Africa, Africa, Australia, South America, India and the United Kingdom. He has presented and co-presented courses to international audiences on tree breeding, quantitative genetic, and data analysis in Portugal, Australia, India, Tanzania, and South Africa. In addition to this, he has presented 3 keynote addresses at international conferences and 6 other keynote and invited speaker addresses.

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