Inducted September 13, 2017
Firmly grounded in forest science and history, Miles K. Benson advanced the practice of sustainable forestry. His belief that everyone needs to work together to accomplish sustainable forestry led to his active involvement in many forestry groups. This respected pulpwood industry leader pioneered a new era of sustainable forestry investments in Wisconsin, thanks to his keen mind, pragmatic insights, and even-keeled personality.
More about Miles Benson:
Miles Benson started his career with the Institute of Paper Chemistry, worked a short while for Owens-Illinois as a forester, and spent the bulk of his career at Consolidated Papers.
Miles accepted an offer from Consolidated Papers, Inc. in 1977 to help them get a planting program going. He led the building of a bigger greenhouse and ended up with seven greenhouses in the town of Monico near Rhinelander that provided enough stock for all of the Consolidated Papers lands. From that position as Forest Planning and Research Manager, he moved on to the job of Services Manager in 1980, taking care of land procurement, land survey, forest inventory, road building, budgeting, seedling production, and research. In 1985, Miles became Operations Manager, supervising and directing all company forest lands in the Lake States and Canada. This included harvesting, roadwork and budgeting for the operations, delivery of wood to the five mills and procurement of wood chips from the West and Canada. Then in 1990 he became Director of Timberlands, responsible for overseeing management of more than 670,000 acres forestland owned by Consolidated and procurement of all wood used by Consolidated for the production of pulp and paper. He held this position until his retirement from Consolidated in 1998. Miles was data-driven throughout his career (reflecting his research background working in tree improvement with hybrid aspen and wood, pulp and fiber quality research) and applied that knowledge to his various forest management responsibilities with Consolidated Papers.
While his distinguished forestry career culminated with 21 years with Consolidated Papers, Inc., his service to the profession of forestry was far from over. Miles had a strong commitment to education for private, non-industrial forest landowners and he continued his active involvement with landowner groups and other forestry organizations through his retirement years. He held Leadership positions in the Wisconsin Society of American Foresters (SAF,) the Wisconsin Forest History Association, Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee, and American Pulpwood Association, He was involved in developing, and served in leadership positions for all of these organizations.
Miles’ passion for forestry was far-ranging. His early career work as a researcher in forest genetics and tree improvement honed his sense of inquiry and love for details. He made strong contributions in the areas of seedling nursery operations and reforestation technology and, over the course of his career, had responsibilities in many areas of forest management.
What is NOT reflected in the bullet points below is his caring personality. He always wanted others to succeed. Comments from forestry colleagues noted how he always took time to inquire how they were, he listened deeply to them, and he served as a mentor to many young foresters getting started in the field. He was fond of telling foresters to “stop and smell the roses” (scenic, ecologic, minutiae, anything of interest) during their work.