Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville and Robert N. Turner of Sulligent, the two newest appointments by Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), began their five-year terms by attending their first Commission meeting on April 19.
“We welcome Ms. Kier and Mr. Turner to serve on the Alabama Forestry Commission, and we look forward to working with them as we continue to carry out the AFC’s mission for the citizens of Alabama,” said State Forester Greg Pate.
Bringing over 30 years of professional experience in business management, corporate training, and customer service, Katrenia Kier is the owner of a real estate brokerage firm in Huntsville, Kier Realestate, LLC. Prior corporate experience includes human resource and information management positions in the defense industry at McDonnell Douglas and Boeing Corporation in Huntsville from 1987–1993. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1976, she also received a Business Management Certificate in 1993 from the University of Alabama at Huntsville as well as Graduate Realtor Institute certification from the National Association of Realtors.
Ms. Kier previously served six years on the State Forester’s Outreach Advisory Council (for underserved and minority landowners). In addition to completing master forester classes and training on best management practices for forestry, she has also attended forest industry conferences and coordinated workshops for North Alabama landowners, introducing them to the services offered by the Forestry Commission. Ms. Kier has been a resident of Huntsville since 1985, although she was born in Chicago. She says she “came home” to Alabama about 34 years ago, where her roots were well established as both parents were natives of Madison County. She has two children.
After 45 years in the field of education, Robert Turner now stays busy with cattle and farming in Lamar County. Originally from Sulligent, he is a 1966 graduate of Todd High School in Vernon. Upon completion of a Bachelors of Art degree in Social Studies at Mississippi Industrial College in 1969, he attended Rust College, University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University, receiving a Masters in Administration in 1984. During the course of his career, he served as teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal at Caledonia High School in Shugualak, Mississippi. He then served as Director of Transportation & Maintenance for the Lowndes County (Mississippi) School District and later in Natchez, Mississippi, before returning to Alabama where he spent several years in the same position in Lamar County prior to retiring in 2011.
Turner’s organizational memberships have included the State Forester’s Outreach Advisory Council, Executive Committee of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, and chairman of LRLEAN (Limited Resource Landowner Education and Assistance Network) an association of African American landowners organized to promote increased sustainable forestry management/certification in the Black Belt region of Alabama by working with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative/Tree Farm program. This organization has also connected many Black landowners to USDA financial assistance programs. Mr. Turner and his wife, Fayrene Hackman Turner, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Ms. Kier and Mr. Turner replace Commissioners Kenneth Real of Detroit, Alabama, and Jerry M. Smith of Vernon, both having served more than nine years on the board. Other current members of the Alabama Forestry Commission include Chairman, Jerry M. Dwyer of Auburn; Vice-Chairman, Jane T. Russell of Lapine; Stephen William May III of Sawyerville; Dr. Salem Saloom of Brewton; and Tommy Thompson of Thomasville. This seven-member board appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate is responsible for setting policy for the Forestry Commission, the state agency charged with protecting and sustaining Alabama’s forest resources.