A winning mindset drove 2023 Alumni Builder Award recipient Reid Carter to excel and give back.
Reid Carter (BSc’79, MSc’83) has never shied away from a challenge, especially when the potential of a future payoff was high.
“I’m not comfortable with failure,” admits Reid. “I’ve always assumed that it’s only a matter of time until somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said: ‘you know, you’re a very nice guy, but we don’t need you anymore’. And that has kept me running really hard my whole life.”
Growing up near the forest in West Vancouver, Reid developed a deep love for the outdoors, whether it was hiking, racing bikes, mountaineering, rock climbing or skiing. With devoted parents cheering him on and encouraging him to give back to his community, Reid also felt a sense of responsibility to make them proud.
No stranger to putting in long hours and pivoting when necessary to achieve academically and professionally, Reid always kept his sights firmly set on his goals.
At UBC Forestry, Reid completed a Bachelor of Science in forestry in 1979 and a Master of Science in Soil Science in 1983, as well as received his RPF accreditation.
UBC Forestry professor, Dr. Hamish Kimmins, helped Reid land a job with Dr. Karel Klinka, also a UBC Forestry professor, “who was a spectacular forest ecologist with the BC Ministry of Forests Research Program,” says Reid.
“That experience got me very involved in the operations of forest ecology. I was able to work with really smart, passionate people who shared my curiosity at UBC Forestry.”
Reid’s studies opened the door to a forest ecology project that resulted in him being part of the team that developed the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification system – a hierarchical forest management tool that organizes ecosystems by location and region – and one that is still in use today.
“That was at a time when you went through ecology to be a conservationist, and much of the work was trying to understand which species grew and in what combinations; why certain species grew in different locations; why productivity varied by location; and how all of this related to soils, site quality, moisture and light,” recalls Reid.
Reid later ran a research program at UBC Forestry and developed novel methodologies for forest management decision-making, species selection, fertilization, genetics and understanding how many of these factors interacted.
A winning attitude, and crossing paths with the right people at the right time, buoyed Reid throughout his sometimes stressful and hectic career.
Working for a time as a forest ecologist, silviculturist and decision-maker for Fletcher Challenge Forests, Reid then pivoted to become a forest products analyst with National Bank Financial. Up until his semi-retirement, Reid was a managing partner with Brookfield Timberlands Management and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., and president and CEO of Acadian Timber Corp. He now holds directorships with several notable companies, including West Fraser, Semios, MakeSpace and Cross Country British Columbia.
“I’ve been very fortunate in many ways; and, because of that, I’ve chosen to be a significant investor in UBC Forestry in the area of conservation, particularly UBC Forestry Professor Tara Martin’s work,” says Reid.
“I wanted to support Tara’s Conservation Decisions Lab because I believe her data-driven approach, which combines identifying threats to species loss, along with management strategies and costs, is one of the best opportunities we have to optimize the protection of species and habitats.”
Reid has also given back to his alma mater as a guest lecturer in the Master of Sustainable Forest Management program and forest economics classes, while also participating as a member of UBC Forestry’s Advisory Council for around 15 years.
In 2023, Reid received an Alumni Builder Award in recognition of his considerable contributions to the forestry profession and UBC Forestry. Established in 2017, the award goes to UBC alumni who have significantly supported the university and enriched the lives of others.
“I am humbled by this recognition,” says Reid. “It has been my pleasure to give back to UBC Forestry and support some of the incredible work underway here.”
This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Branchlines Magazine. View the full issue here.