O'Connor described the job as encompassing almost every part of Tongass operations. She will continue to work with Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole, who manages the Tongass. Her job will focus on both day-to-day operations of the forest plus "building external relationships and communicating in all aspects of Tongass management."
"I'm pretty excited about it," she said. "Being able to work in a place I absolutely love. I've been on the Tongass so long I feel I'm starting to know what it takes to be a part of the communities."
O’Connor said another large part of the job that intrigues her is the opportunity to assume an advisory role with other staff members. She said the forest's staff has shown great commitment and enthusiasm.
O'Connor has built an extensive career in forestry. She was a district wildlife biologist in Montana's Lolo National Forest and has been a Yakutat District Ranger. She is currently the staff officer for wildlife, subsistence, and planning on the Tongass.
Her appointment is supported by other Tongass officials. In a press release, Cole cited O'Connor's "extensive work with the state of Alaska, Tongass Futures Roundtable, tribal and Native corporation interests, as well as her key role in getting the 2008 Forest Plan completed."
The release states Forest Wildlife Biologist Brian Logan, a member of O’Connor’s staff for the past year, shared this praise and referred to her “ability to bring stakeholders together to meet multiple objectives," Logan further describes her as “a great leader and mentor for Forest Service employees.”
O'Connor currently works out of Juneau, but her new job will station her in Ketchikan.
• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.