Troy Harris ’92
Troy Harris, a 1992 forestry graduate, is the managing director for Timberland Funds at Jamestown L.P., a Timberland Investment Management Organization, or TIMO, that focuses on buying high quality timberland properties across the United States.
Harris currently serves on the boards of many parish forestry associations, including the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the Operating Committee of the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Harris has over 25 years of experience in public an institutional timberland portfolio management and a proven record of accomplishment for timber acquisitions, operations, management and dispositions.
Alumnus Spotlight with Troy
Why did you choose to attend Auburn?
I graduated from high school in Nashville, TN. I did not want to go to the University of Tennessee, ‘where everyone else was going.’ My neighbors both graduated from Auburn and took me to my first football game played against Florida on the weekend of Halloween. I really loved the campus and the Plains, and it felt like the right fit for me.
What led you to choose your major?
I went to Auburn thinking I wanted to be a doctor, but at class registration I thought about what would make me happy. I flipped through the degree program book and stumbled upon forestry. I was drawn to the degree especially because it seemed to not rely heavily on math classes, but the joke was on me as everything in forestry is math disguised with non-math names. Also, growing up in Oregon and being an Eagle Scout, I was always outside, so an outdoor career appealed to me.
How did the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, or SFWS, prepare you for your career?
As a ’92 graduate I would have to say it was different back then. The school was really was turning out the best “dirt foresters” in the country. The focus was growing and buying trees. I got an amazing job opportunity to work for Union Camp, one of the best paper companies in the southeast. It was a young forester’s dream job, and I am really grateful to have started out there.
Why is staying involved and in touch with SFWS valuable to you?
I really value being able to share my experiences with the school, and helping faculty and students understand what TIMOs are looking for in a forestry graduate. You can do so much with a forestry degree from Auburn, and it’s rewarding to help students focus on what they might want to do when they graduate.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SFWS; was there a professor or faculty member that had a great influence on you during your time in the school?
He may not know this, but Dr. Richard Brinker, the dean and harvesting professor at the time, had a considerable influence on me. Dr. Brinker would always come to class in a well pressed dress shirt, even at summer camp. He did not present himself as a ‘forester,’ he came across as a businessman. His classes would focus a lot on how much money a landowner was spending and ask us to justify the cost.
Flannel shirts and jeans have their place in forestry, but I always tried to wear a collared shirt and pants because you never know who you may run into in the woods. Forestry is a business, and I have found that if you ask yourself, ‘Would I spend my own money on doing this?’ you usually make good decisions.
What is your favorite thing about being an SFWS alum?
The Auburn Family! I am so proud of our school and the character that SFWS instills in its students. I have the Auburn Creed hanging next to my desk to remind me of the things ‘I Believe.’ That simple ‘War Eagle’ you get walking through the airport says it all.
What advice would you give to students entering the workforce right now?
Network! Start talking to people in the industry today about all the possibilities out there for graduates. People in this industry are very open to sharing with you. Go ahead and connect via email, but don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or ask to grab a cup of coffee.