The newest appointment by Gov. Kay Ivey to the Alabama Forestry Commission recently began his five-year term. Robert P. Sharp attended his first Commission meeting in October. “We are pleased to welcome Mr. Sharp as an AFC commissioner,” said State Forester Rick Oates. “His professional experience in the forest products industry will be a crucial asset in continuing the AFC mission.”
Originally from Panama City, Florida, Bob Sharp graduated Bay County High School in 1967 and pursued further education at Auburn University. Upon obtaining a Bachelor of Science in forest management in 1972, he moved back to his home state of Florida to accept a job with St. Joe Paper Company in Wewahitchka. Over the next 10 years, Bob also worked for the Container Corporation of America at Fernandina Beach, Florida, and St. Regis Lumber & Plywood in Citronelle, Alabama, working as a procurement manager. This title gave Sharp the large responsibility of procuring more than 400,000 tons of timber annually.
After becoming co-owner of Mobile Forest Products Inc. in 1984, Bob worked as a small, independent wood supplier to local sawmills and paper companies. Over the next 25 years, the business grew to be one of the largest wood supply/forestry trucking companies in northwest Florida, south Alabama, and south Mississippi. “When I sold my share of the company to Cooper Marine and Timberlands in 2007, we were delivering over 3,000,000 tons of forestry products and biomass annually,” says Sharp.
Following the sale of his share of his former company, Bob served three years as Vice President for Forest Products at Cooper Marine & Timberlands until 2010 and three additional years as Vice President for Strategic Planning for Kior Inc. until 2013. Currently operating two small, self-owned companies for six years since retiring from full-time employment, Bob claims that “forestry has been good to us and remains a big part of our lives.”
Bob and his wife of 49 years, Carol, live in Mobile and have two children and five grandchildren. Sharp replaces Commissioner Jerry Dwyer of Auburn. Other members of the Alabama Forestry Commission include Chairman, Katrenia Kier of Huntsville; Vice-Chairman, Robert Turner of Sulligent; Jane T. Russell of Lapine; Stephen W. May III, of Sawyerville; Joseph H. Twardy of Auburn; and Dr. Bill Sudduth of Tuscaloosa. 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, which contribute not only to abundant timber and wildlife, but also clean air and water, as well as a healthy economy.