Campus News

Campus Closeup: Donna Gallaher

A business manager for 18 years for a logging contractor before coming to work at UGA

Program Coordinator
School of Forest Resources

JOB DESCRIPTION: “I’m the coordinator for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program, which we do for the state’s forest products industry to encourage the practice of sustainable forestry. And the way we’re doing that encouragement is through a logger education program called the Georgia Master Timber Harvester Workshop. We also have an outreach program geared to private landowners in the state. Some people find it a bit unique that I’m a female working with logger education.”


MOST REWARDING PART OF MY JOB: “I believe in using the forest and in using our forest products. But I think we need to do so wisely. We can harvest timber. We can provide wood products and paper products. We can provide jobs and the income that’s associated with that. But we can also protect the environment while we’re doing so.

“Getting people tuned in to all of these values is rewarding, but it’s frustrating some days because you wonder if you are really doing any good.

“But then on other days, somebody calls to say they need to take care of, say, an endangered species they encountered on a track or somewhere. On those days, it’s very rewarding to be a part of getting people tuned into that.”

PREVIOUS WORK EXPERIENCES: “I was a business manager for 18 years for a logging contractor in Monroe County before I came to UGA. And I was with that business as it grew from a fairly small business of only six employees to the more 30 there when I left.

“Then I’ve also had a retail business of my own-my undergraduate degree is in clothing and textiles. And that’s why I do the business part. That’s kind of my background-having a business and working with the logging business. I started keeping the books for this logger as a secondary income and then I got the ladies’ clothing store and still kept the books. The store didn’t do really well, so I started working in the logging business full time. The school of hard knocks has given me a degree in ­forestry.”


OFF-THE-JOB INTERESTS: “My ­primary interest-and passion-is working in my yard.”


FAVORITE MOVIE GENRE: “Generally, I prefer comedies, simply because life is serious enough that I like my recreation to be light.”

A BOOK I’D RECOMMEND TO OTHERS: “Probably one of the best books that I ever read that had one of the best impacts on me is Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

THE PEOPLE I MOST ADMIRE: “I admire people who have a really strong value system-some friends as well as people I’ve known at work and in social situations. I guess it’s odd being in academia now that I’m not as impressed with someone’s intellect and knowledge in a specific subject as I am their personal value system and their desire to do right by people and just doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

“I’m really big on people being responsible for themselves and personal ­accountability.”

THE ISSUES THAT CONCERN ME MOST ABOUT TODAY’S WORLD: “Joblessness. I hate it when I pick up the newspaper and read that a business is closing and people are out of work.

“But by the same token, I get a little concerned when people don’t take responsibility for themselves. Some circumstances are beyond our control, but very often we do have things happen to us because we allow them. I guess I’m kind of an independent person, and I feel concerned when people want to blame society, their parents or somebody else for their situation.

“Even though our economy is on an upswing right now, there are a lot of people-through no fault of their own-out there without jobs.

“Businesses are closing and downsizing and people who have been employed 15, 20 and 30 years are suddenly without jobs. And that concerns me.”