University of Maine and Irving Woodlands partner in forestry research
November 6, 2017 | 12:25 pm CST
Neil Thompson
FORT KENT, Maine – The University of Maine at Fort Kent named Neil Thompson as the Irving Woodlands, LLC. Professor of Forestry. Irving Woodlands, based in Saint John, New Brunswick, endowed the chair.
With a PhD from the University of Vancouver, Thompson is also a a University of Maine System graduate, and very familiar with diverse woodlands of Maine.
“I’m thrilled to be taking on this research for Irving at UMFK,” said Thompson. “I can’t think of a more fitting location to conduct the exploration of Maine’s woodlands than Fort Kent.”
A Maine native, Thompson grew up in Yarmouth planting and cultivating orchids on his family’s land. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maine at Orono with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. Immediately after, Thompson went on to the University of Northern British Columbia for his Ph. D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Science which he will complete this year. 
“Mr. Thompson comes to UMFK with extensive research and teaching experience that will greatly benefit our students,” said UMFK President, Dr. John Short. “Our campus is very excited about the contributions we know he will make in the classroom and laboratories.”
Thompson states that what excites him about this position is the combination of two jobs that he loves, teaching and research, and that he found that combination in his home state. “I was very impressed by the caliber and engagement of the students when I interviewed for the position, which is what really makes teaching enjoyable.”
“All of us at Irving Woodlands are very excited to welcome Neil Thompson to the University of Maine at Fort Kent,” said Jason Limongelli, Vice President of Woodlands Division. “We look forward to working with Neil to advance the benefits of outcome-based forestry in Northern Maine and to address important issues like climate change, biodiversity and the spruce budworm.”
“I will be aligning my research with the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit in Orono to build an applied research program in the north,” said Thompson. “The CFRU has a history of practical research that has been applied by landowners across the state, and I look forward to working with Irving Woodlands and other CFRU members to answer questions related to the long-term health and productivity of forest ecosystems in northern Maine.” 
J.D. Irving, Limited expanded its Ashland Sawmill in Northern Maine with the construction of a new dry kiln, a $1.7 million dollar project that was completed earlier this year. J.D. Irving built its state-of-the-art $30+ million dollar Ashland Sawmill in 2014.
For more information about the Forestry program at UMFK, call 834-7500 or go to

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.