Page 24 - Georgia Forestry - Issue 4 - Fall 2019
P. 24

 Finding the
Common Bond
Troy Harris is, among other things, a translator. In his work as managing director of Jamestown’s timber business, which owns and manages timberlands in the Southeast, he has to be able to talk to a wide variety of audiences every day: loggers, hunters, foresters, mill owners, legislators, colleagues on the seventh floor of Ponce City Market in midtown Atlanta and people he bumps into down- stairs in the food hall.
“You have to be able to resonate and be in their environment to reach them where they are, and I’m comfortable in that role,” Harris said. “It’s allowed me to share my passion for forestry with diverse audiences. That’s what really gets me excited.”
Harris stresses how important it is for the forestry industry to be proactive in sharing its significance with those who don’t see it or engage in the business on a regular basis. “I think there’s not an awareness of what we in the timber busi- ness do in metro areas. And it’s up to us to
Troy Harris, managing director of Jamestown’s timber business. Jamestown’s office along the Atlanta BeltLine in Ponce City Market provides opportunities for capturing an urban audience.
do that heavy lifting,” he said. “We’ve got to bring our story to diverse audiences so that they understand and see what we do as a great benefit to our state.”
And he’s an expert at sharing a working forest message with people who are
not the traditional forestry audience: metro Atlanta residents. Harris says that finding the interests they have in common is critical to connecting with the person in front of him. “When you’re talking to a metro audience and people who don’t get into the woods often, what they care about is clean air, clean water and wildlife. Nobody’s opposed to those things,” he said.
While many have a knee-jerk reaction when they hear about forestry — visu- alizing clear cuts and deforestation — Harris doesn’t encounter many who are opposed to hearing him out. “There are so many people who just don’t know, and they’re willing to learn,” he said. “And when you’re willing to share that working forest message and give them opportunities and experiences and tell them your story, it doesn’t take long for them to get onboard with the good forestry does for the environment and the economy.”
He gets excited at the prospect of providing eye-opening moments for people at the Farmers Market at Ponce City Market. Harris and Jamestown,
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