Governing Board

Our program is jointly funded by the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and governance is through a 10-member Governing Board with 5 members from the Forest Service and 1 member each from the Bureaus of Land Management, Indian Affairs, Fish and Wildlife Service, Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Board Members
Joint Fire Science Program Governing Board January 2012 Meeting


Matt Rollins Matt Rollins
Governing Board Chair
USGS-EROS Data Center
Sioux Falls, SD

Matt Rollins is the wildland fire science coordinator for the USGS, located in Reston, VA. Prior to that he led the wildland fire science team at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls SD. Prior to that he worked for 9 years as a research ecologist at the U.S. Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, MT.  His research emphases have included 1) evaluating changes in 20th century wildland fire and landscape patterns under different wildland fire management strategies; 2) integrating biophysical gradient modeling with ecosystem simulation and remote sensing for national level vegetation and wildland fuel mapping applications; and 3) integration of national level wildland fuel and fire regime data into wildland fire management decision support applications and policy. He earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology in 1993 and an M.S. in Forestry in 1995 from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. His Ph.D. was awarded by The University of Arizona in 2000, where he worked at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.



  
Jim Menakis Jim Menakis
Governing Board Vice-Chair
National Fire Ecologist
Washington Office - Fire and Aviation Management (Detached)
USDA Forest Service
Missoula, MT
Since 1990, Menakis has worked on various research projects related to fire ecology at the community and landscape levels for the Fire Ecology and Fuels Project. Currently, he is working for the Fire Modeling Institute on the Hazardous Fuels Prioritization Allocation System (HFPAS) for Forest Service and Department Interior, mapping Wild Fire Potential for the nation, providing technical support on the Cohesive Strategy, and providing continued support on Fire Regime Condition Class (FRCC). Menakis was recently the Rapid Assessment team lead for the LANDFIRE project. He has recently worked on mapping Historical Natural Fire Regimes, FRCC, and Wildland Fire Risk to Flammable Structures for the conterminous United States and relative FRCC for the western United States. Before that, he was the GIS Coordinator of the Landscape Ecology Team for the Interior Columbia River Basin Scientific Assessment Project and was involved with mapping FARSITE layers for the Gila Wilderness and the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Menakis received his B.S. degree in Forestry and M.S. degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana, Missoula.

  
Mike Balboni Mike Balboni
Forest Supervisor, Kitsatchie National Forest
USDA Forest Service
Mike has had a diverse 30 years of experience with the Forest Service. During those years Mike has worked in four Regions of the Forest Service and on eleven different national forests. Mike began his career in Florida as a biological aid working in wildlife, timber, and prescribed burning. He has also worked as a wildlife biologist, resource assistant, and in a Supervisor's office as a planner. Mike was a District Ranger for over 12 years on the Kootenai National Forest in Troy, Montana prior to becoming the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Bridger-Teton National Forest. After 2 ½ years on the B-T and over 20 years in the west, Mike was selected for the Forest Supervisor job on the Kisatchie National Forest and has been there since 2009. Mike has been a Line Officer since 1994.

Mike has a Bachelor's degree in Forest Resources and Conservation from the University of Florida. He played baseball at Valdosta State College and Central Florida Community College prior to completing his degree requirements at the University of Florida.

Mike has a great deal of experience in Fire as well having served as the Agency Administrator on well over a dozen Type I and Type II incidents, including the Rainbow Family event in 2008. In addition to his Line Officer and community experience, Mike also has operational experience as a Division Group Supervisor and Fire Safety Officer.

Mike enjoys collaboration and working with partners. He has considerable experience with Stewardship Contracting and Agreements, various citizens groups, and working with communities to improve their economic situations and infrastructure.

Mike has held numerous community leadership positions such as Park District Chair, President of the Troy Business Club, President of the Water and Sewer District, Coach/Manager and organizer of youth sports for the town of Troy, and for over 12 years served as a high school football official.

Mike is on the Board of Directors for several organizations including; Louisiana Forestry Association, Joint Fire Science Program, Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, and Gulf Coastal Plain Ozark Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Mike and his wife Sylvia have been married for over 30 years. Mike enjoys golf, hiking, and hunting.

Mike and Sylvia, have two boys both of whom are graduates of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. One, is a Computer Software Engineer in Johnson City, Tennessee, and the second one is a Film and Media graduate and is currently working as a firefighter for the Forest Service in Montana.

  
Nate Benson Nate Benson
Fire Ecologist Program Leader
DOI National Park Service
National Interagency Fire Center, Boise, Idaho
Nate Benson has worked for the National Park Service for more than fifteen years in a variety of positions. He started his NPS fire career as a fire effects monitor at Glacier National Park, and then moved to Yellowstone and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks as a Fire Use Module Leader. More recently he was the Prescribed Fire Specialist at Everglades National Park. He is currently at the NPS Fire Management Program Center as the National Fire Ecology Program Lead. Nate has a Master of Science - Land Resources degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Environmental Studies.

  
Ed Brunson Ed Brunson
BIA, Eastern Region
(biography not yet available)

  
Rob Griffith Rob Griffith
Assistant Director Fire and Aviation Management
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Region
As Assistant Director for Fire and Aviation Management, Rob has primary responsibility for Fuels Management, Fire Ecology, Air Quality, and Fire Prevention Programs.

He has 32 years Forest Service experience and a B.S. degree in Forest Science with an emphasis in soil science from Humboldt State University, California.

  
Mark Kaib Mark Kaib
Deputy Regional Fire Mgmt Coordinator
DOI US Fish & Wildlife Service, Southwest Region 2

Mark began his career in fire as an Arizona hotshot crewmember for the USFS in 1982, his first summer out of high school. Over the next 13 years he worked on other hotshot crews, engine and helitack crews for the USFS, NPS, and the BLM. Mark was a hotshot superintendent and also worked in Alaska with Native American Crews for the Alaska Fire Service. As a seasonal firefighter Mark either went to college or traveled in the winter months. Mark traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Southeast Asia, and to 24 countries in Africa between 1985 and 2000.

Mark attended graduate school at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring research. In northern Mexico and the Southwest United States, Mark conducted research on past land-uses, fire history, and human fire influences in mixed-conifer, pine-oak forest, and semi-desert grassland ecosystems.

Mark is currently the Deputy Regional Fire Management Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Region in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he consults the Refuge in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Mark has been involved with International fire management training and planning in Central America and Mexico, through the Interior Technical Assistance Program and The Nature Conservancy.

Marks personal interests include hiking, biking, fishing, international travel and outdoor activities with his wife Kelli, and their 7 year old son Nate.

Education

B.S., Environmental Sciences; Range and Wildlife, Arizona State University, 1992
M.S., Watershed Management, The University of Arizona, 1998
MS, Arid Lands Resource Sciences, The University of Arizona, 2004

  
Elizabeth Reinhardt Elizabeth Reinhardt
Fire Research Program Leader
USDA Forest Service
Elizabeth is the Forest Service's National Program Leader for Fire Research. She started working for the Forest Service as a seasonal employee in 1978 and spent most of her career at the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory where she was a research forester. Her research focused on fire ecology and wildland fuel treatment. She is a principle developer of FOFEM (a First Order Fire Effects Model) and FFE-FVS (the Fire and Fuels Extension to the Forest Vegetation Simulator. She served as Project Leader of the Fire Ecology and Fuels Project, and the Director of the Fire Modeling Institute for several years. In 2009 she came to Washington DC as a member of the Policy Analysis staff, and then served in the Climate Change Advisor's Office for two years as staff assistant.

She has degrees in English (A.B., Harvard University), and forestry (M.S. and Ph.D., University of Montana).

  
M. L. Smith M. L. Smith
Deputy Forest Supervisor
USDA Forest Service, Boise National Forest
Marie-Louise "ML" Smith is currently serving as the Deputy Forest Supervisor on the Boise National Forest in southwest Idaho. ML came to this position in August 2010 after serving as Staff Assistant to the Deputy Chief for the National Forest System in Washington DC.

ML started her career in 1987 as a seasonal backcountry ranger and wildland firefighter on the Chugach National Forest in Alaska. Since then, she has served as an ecologist and research ecologist with the Northern Research Station in Durham, NH, and in Washington, D.C. as a legislative specialist on Forest Service Legislative Affairs staff and as Acting Assistant Director for Integrated Vegetation Management.

ML earned a B.S. in Natural Resources at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, a M.S. in Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of New Hampshire.