Leadership Team Bios

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The Westervelt Company is led by a team of executives with diverse backgrounds, each of them bringing a unique perspective to the management of existing businesses and to the long-term vision of the organization.

  • Cade Warner 2024_updated size

    Cade Warner, CFA, CAIA

    President and Chief Executive Officer

    A native of Tuscaloosa, AL., Cade Warner is the President and CEO of The Westervelt Company. He received a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration from the University of Alabama, a master’s in business administration from the University of Alabama and a master’s degree in forest resources with a specialization in forest business from the University of Georgia. In addition, Cade is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA®), and Financial and Modeling Valuation Analyst (FMVA®) professional designations and has completed courses in Managerial Leadership and Sustainable Finance and Investments through Harvard Extension School.

    Prior to becoming CEO, his experience included his role as Chief Operating Officer, where he was responsible for the five business operations of The Westervelt Company – Forest Resources, Wood Products, Ecological Services, Real Estate and New Zealand, as well as Business Development and Information Services. Cade also served as Chief Sustainability Officer, where he was responsible for leading Sustainability efforts across the organization, as well as responsibility for Westervelt Ecological Services, Westervelt New Zealand and Westervelt Real Estate businesses. He previously served as Director of Business Development and Improvement where he was responsible for the company’s strategic planning, business development and business improvement functions, and as Continuous Improvement Manager where he oversaw the development and implementation of the company’s continuous improvement program, Growing Excellence.

    Prior to joining The Westervelt Company in 2017, Cade held multiple positions with Conservation Forestry, a leading conservation themed timberland investment management organization. Cade has gained a breadth of experience in other sectors of the forestry and investment industries through intern positions with Hancock Natural Resource Group, the United States Senate Banking Committee, the Alabama Forestry Association and The Westervelt Company.

    Cade has been, and continues to be, involved with many community leadership groups including the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Leadership Tuscaloosa, United Way of West Alabama’s Young Leadership Society, Rotary International, and the Tuscaloosa Rotary Foundation Board. In addition, Cade also directly supports the industry through board positions on the Wood Products Council | WoodWorks, American Wood Council, National Alliance of Forest Owners, and the Alabama Productivity Center.

    Cade and his wife April have two children and enjoy spending their time traveling and exploring the world’s natural wonders.

  • Ray Colvin 2024

    Ray Colvin, R.F.

    Director, Real Estate and Mergers & Acquisitions

    Ray Colvin, R.F., is the Director of Mergers & Acquisitions and Real Estate with The Westervelt Company, joining what was then Gulf States Paper in 1997. He has held numerous roles with the Company, including Senior Portfolio Manager; Manager, Westervelt Land Company; and Director of Real Estate and Forest Recreation. In his current role, he has oversight for all merger and acquisition activities, as well as the identification and development of the company’s real estate portfolio.

    Ray is actively involved with numerous forestry and real estate associations. He most currently serves as a Board Member and Past Chairman of the Alabama Forestry Association.

    Ray is a Registered Forester, having earned a Master’s Degree in Forestry from Auburn University in 1997. He was a four year member of the baseball team at Faulkner University, where he earned a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration. He also is a Licensed Real Estate Agent.

    Throughout his career, Ray has focused on building relationships with multiple stakeholders, and has focused on real estate, marketing, financial analysis and operations. He is skilled in multi-faceted acquisitions with publicly traded companies, government agencies and private landowners.

    Ray is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys spending time with his family and friends at his recreational farm or on Lake Tuscaloosa.

  • Keith Dollar 2024

    Keith Dollar, P.E.

    Director, Engineering Services

    Keith is a Registered Professional Engineer and serves as Director of Engineering and Technical Services for The Westervelt Company. He joined the company as a project engineer in 1982, and during his career with Westervelt, he has provided civil engineering, surveying, and environmental compliance services for various company divisions and projects.

    Keith graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is responsible for economic evaluation and development of various projects such as design and maintenance of forest land management infrastructure, wood products manufacturing facilities, office building design and construction, wetlands and stream mitigation bank development, and residential real estate development projects.

    Prior to beginning his career with Westervelt, Keith was employed by the State of Alabama, Department of Industrial Relations where he designed and managed coal mine reclamation projects for the surface and underground coal mining industry throughout the state.

    Keith is married to Tracy and has two children and three grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors and enjoys spending time with his family and friends at his recreational farm in West Alabama.

  • Dave Donaldson 2024_updated size

    Dave Donaldson, R.F.

    Executive Vice President and General Manager, Forest Resources

    Dave Donaldson, a Registered Forester, was born in Springfield, Ohio, and raised in Dalton, Ga. He joined The Westervelt Company in 1995 and was named to his most recent position of Executive Vice President and General Manager of Forest Resources in January 2022. Prior to this, he held several roles including Vice President, Director of Woodlands, Timberland Portfolio Manager and Area Manager.

    Dave is a U.S. Veteran, having served in the Alabama National Guard, and is a 1995 graduate of Auburn University with a degree in Forest Resources. Additionally, Dave completed the UNC Executive Development Institute and is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

    In his current role, Dave oversees Westervelt’s forestry division, New Zealand operations and international strategic forestry partnerships.

    His professional affiliations include serving as Board member of the Forest Landowner Association, Forest Resources Association and Forestry Works. Additionally, Dave serves as a member of the National Alliance of Forest Owners, Alabama Forestry Association and the Advisory Council for Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. He has been active in the United Way of West Alabama, Red Cross, Adopt-A-School, Church of the Highlands and The Westervelt Foundation.

    He and his wife Tammy live in Tuscaloosa, AL, with their four children.

  • Farris Jody copy

    Jody Farris, CPA


    Born in Demopolis, AL and raised in Tuscaloosa, AL, Jody Farris serves as Treasurer for The Westervelt Company. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama and a master’s in taxation from Troy University. Jody is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Licensed in Georgia, and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs. In addition, he is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

    Jody joined The Westervelt Company in March of 2018 as Tax & Treasury Manager and assumed his current position as Treasurer in January of 2023. Prior to joining Westervelt, he worked at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International as a Tax Specialist and spent three years in public accounting as a staff accountant specializing in tax.

    Jody and his wife Heather have two children and enjoy spending time outdoors at their family’s recreational farm.

  • Travis Hemmen 2024_updated size

    Travis Hemmen

    Executive Vice President and General Manager, Westervelt Ecological Services

    Travis Hemmen is an Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Westervelt Company and serves as the President and CEO of Westervelt Ecological Services, LLC (WES). He joined Westervelt in 2006 as Sales & Marketing Manager and assumed his current position in January 2024. Prior to joining Westervelt, he worked at Pulte Homes and Jones & Stokes.

    In his role, Travis leads WES operations, the annual budget, and oversees the strategic planning process for the business unit. He serves as Chairman of the Board for WES and is responsible for managing key relationships with clients, landowners, and strategic business partners. Travis is also involved in both regulatory and political efforts that support Westervelt projects and issues affecting the habitat restoration industry. He is a former Board member and past President of Ecological Restoration Business Association (ERBA), and regularly meets with staff at State and Federal agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services and California Department of Fish & Wildlife, as well as local elected officials.

    Travis has extensive experience in California environmental policy and state and federal permitting. As the national representative for the mitigation industry, he is actively involved in all federal and state policies affecting clients. Mr. Hemmen developed and delivered a statewide mitigation training program for Caltrans and teaches classes for the University of California, Davis Extension, and McGeorge School of Law on mitigation planning and permitting. He also supported the California Department of Water Resources in contracting for advanced mitigation credits related to the levee maintenance program.

    Travis is a native of Guthrie Center, Iowa, and has an MS in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School and a BA in Biology from the University of Northern Iowa. He is married and has three children.

  • Jonathan Lowery 2024

    Jonathan Lowery, R.F.

    Vice President, Sustainability and Government Relations

    Jonathan Lowery, Vice President, Sustainability and Government Relations, is a native of Florence, Alabama. He has more than 25 years of experience as a natural resources professional and is a Registered Forester in the state of Alabama. After receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry from Mississippi State University, he joined The Westervelt Company in 1998 as an Inventory Forester. Throughout his career, Jonathan has completed various leadership programs including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Executive Development Institute (2015), the National Conservation Leadership Institute (2020), and the Strategic Leadership Program at the University of Alabama (2023).

    Jonathan has worked in various functions of managing Westervelt’s forest assets, including timber inventory, silviculture, hardwood management, harvest scheduling, land acquisition, and forest certification. In his current role, Jonathan works across all business units to promote Westervelt’s sustainability story, develop and enhance sustainability-related business opportunities, and advocate for public policies that maintain and improve the economic, environmental, and social values of working forests, wood products, and ecological restoration.

    Jonathan has served in various professional affiliations including the SFI Alabama State Implementation Committee (past Chairman), Mississippi State University - College of Forest Resources Advisory Committee, National Alliance of Forest Owners (Operating Committee Chairman, 2023), and numerous other workgroups in relevant trade associations and conservation organizations.

    Jonathan is married to his high school sweetheart, Carolyn, and they have two children. He is an active member at First Baptist Church Tuscaloosa, serving as deacon and Sunday School teacher. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor pursuits, cooking for his family, music, and trying to stay physically fit.

  • Jason Nicholson 2024

    Jason Nicholson, CPA

    Financial Services Director - Manufacturing and Forest Resources

    Jason Nicholson serves as Financial Services Director - Manufacturing and Forest Resources for The Westervelt Company. Currently, his responsibilities include working with staff and business partners to drive financial performance for Westervelt’s forestry assets and sawmills. He joined the company in 2008, having previously served as Controller for Randall Publishing Company.

    Jason is a 1999 honors graduate of The University of Alabama where he received a Bachelors in Finance and Accounting. He is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Alabama, and is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Alabama Society of CPAs.

    Jason and his wife Jennifer have three children.

  • Susan Poole 2024

    Susan Poole, APR, PCM

    Corporate Marketing and Public Relations Director

    Born and raised in Vernon, Ala, Susan joined The Westervelt Company in March 2017. She has a B.S. in Business Management and an M.S. in Marketing Management from the University of Maryland, and an M.S. in Human Environmental Science from the University of Alabama. She is Accredited in Public Relations and is a Professional Certified Marketer. As the Corporate Marketing and Public Relations Director, she is responsible for corporate marketing efforts and coordination, public and community relations, including charitable activities, internal communications, branding and facilitating communication for programs throughout the organization. She is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, having focused on projects that improve communication within organizations and that demonstrate project and program effectiveness.

    Susan has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and public relations. Prior to joining Westervelt, she was the global manufacturing communications manager for International Paper. Her experience also includes roles as a public affairs director, marketing manager and positions with embassies in Croatia and Chile with the U.S. Department of State.

    During her career, Susan has been involved in many organizations, including the Public Relations Council of Alabama, the Southern Public Relations Federation, the United Way, Leadership Tuscaloosa and Leadership Autauga County, Junior Achievement of West Alabama, the Prattville-Autauga Character Coalition, YMCA, Rotary and the Family Support Center of Prattville.

    Susan is married to Jeff, who she followed around the world during his U.S. Marine Corps career, and they have three children and one grandchild.

  • Mark Richardson 2024_updated size

    Mark Richardson

    Executive Vice President and General Manager, Wood Products

    Mark is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Westervelt Wood Products. He earned a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration in 1993 and an MBA in 1998, both from the University of Alabama. Mark joined what was then Gulf States Paper Company in 1998 in Strategic Planning. He held several roles in that department before moving into Lumber Sales in 2006, most recently serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing. He was promoted to his current position in January 2024.

    Mark is actively involved with numerous lumber and wood products associations. He previously served as a Board member and Chairman of the Southern Forest Products Association and Board member and Treasurer for the Treated Wood Council, and currently is an alternative representative on the American Lumber Standards Committee.

    During his professional career, Mark has also taken on leadership roles in the community, including as a former Board member with Junior Achievement of West Alabama and as a former American Heart Association Heart Walk Executive Team Member. He is a Leadership Tuscaloosa graduate.

    Mark is married and has one daughter.

  • Ray Robbins 2024_updated size

    Ray Robbins

    Executive Vice President and General Counsel

    A native of Talladega, Ala., Ray is an honors graduate of the University of Alabama, where he received his bachelor’s degree in finance. Ray received his Juris Doctorate from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, and an LLM in Taxation Law from the University of Florida. He joined The Westervelt Company in 2007 as Assistant General Counsel. He became the organization’s Secretary and General Counsel in 2009, was named Vice President in January 2012, and was named Executive Vice President in January 2024.

    Ray is married to Hope Robbins and the proud father of twin daughters, Kate and Anna. Ray is an avid outdoorsman. He also enjoys watching his daughters play soccer.

  • Alisa Robertson 2024

    Alisa Robertson

    Executive Vice President, Human Resources

    A native of Northport, Ala., Alisa received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Alabama. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude designation. Alisa was named Vice President, Human Resources in 2017 and Executive Vice President, Human Resources in 2024. She has more than 37 years of experience in accounting and human resources responsibilities, primarily serving The Westervelt Company.

    Prior to joining the company, she worked with a local accounting firm.

    Alisa joined The Westervelt Company in 1987 as internal auditor and has held several positions in the financial services and human resources groups. In her current role, Alisa is responsible for human resources and the corporate facility.

    Alisa currently serves on West Alabama Works! Steering Committee and Tuscaloosa’s One Place Board of Directors. She’s a member of NorthRiver Church.

    She and her husband, Kent, have two children and four grandchildren.

  • Diana Russell 2024_updated size

    Diana Russell

    Director, Financial Services

    A native of Houma, Louisiana, and raised in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Diana Russell is Financial Services Director for The Westervelt Company. She began her career with Westervelt in 2011, and has held roles including Tax Manager and, most recently, Corporate Controller. Prior to joining Westervelt, she worked for five years in public accounting on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, specializing in income tax.

    Diana earned a B.S. in Business Administration with Accounting from the University of Southern Mississippi, and is an inactive CPA. She is a member of the AICPA and the Alabama Society of CPAs. Diana is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa.

    Diana is married to Josh and they have two sons.

  • Tony Sheffield 2024

    Tony Sheffield

    Chief Financial Officer

    Tony Sheffield, CPA (inactive), joined The Westervelt Company in September 2023 as Chief Financial Officer. He joined Westervelt after more than thirty years in the wood products industry.

    After graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in Accounting in 1991, Tony worked with Ernst & Young as a staff accountant, and then joined Scotch Lumber Company as Assistant Controller in 1993. After serving in the finance team for several years, Tony moved into operations where he held several roles of progressively increasing responsibility before being named General Manager, Scotch Lumber Company in 2003. In 2009, the Scotch & Gulf Lumber companies merged, and he was named CFO for the new entity. In 2013, when Canfor acquired Scotch Gulf Lumber, Tony assumed the senior leadership role of Regional VP, Finance for Canfor Southern Pine. In 2016, he took on a new challenge and moved into the VP, Sales role for CSP to lead the SYP customer engagement and sales strategy. In 2021, Tony was named President, Canfor Southern Pine, retiring from that position in 2023.

    Throughout his career, Tony has been involved in professional organizations, including the boards of the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturing Association and the Southern Forest Products Association. He is a member of the Alabama Society of CPAs and the American Institute of CPAs.

    He is married to Rene, and they have two grown children and five grandchildren.

  • Michael Smelley 2024

    Michael Smelley

    Director, Information Services

    Michael Smelley currently serves as the Director of Information Services at The Westervelt Company, a role he has embraced since joining the organization in 1991, initially under its former name, Gulf States Paper Corporation. Michael's career within the company is a testament to his versatile expertise and leadership skills. He began as a Programmer and Programmer Analyst in the Cartons Division, eventually advancing to a pivotal role in the Infrastructure Department. As the Sr. Network Analyst, he managed the Support Center while simultaneously fulfilling the responsibilities supporting the infrastructure of the company. In his role as Sr. Network Analyst, Michael handled the management and support of the company's desktops, servers, security, and various enterprise applications.

    Michael graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, where he specialized in Management Information Systems (MIS) in the school of business. Complementing his formal education, he has pursued and attained multiple certifications in network, security, and storage area networks, as well as a serving member of the IT Architect Network.

    Michael has a strong commitment to community engagement and youth development. Michael has served with Junior Achievement as a classroom volunteer, Loaned Executive to United Way, and has volunteered with TES (Tuscaloosa Emergency Services), Turning Point and the Community Soup Bowl.

    Michael's dedication to nurturing young talent extends into his passion for sports, where he has made significant contributions as a coach for youth baseball, basketball, and football teams as well as serving as a Baseball Coach for the People To People Sports Ambassador International organization. Working in youth sports has enabled him to influence young athletes, fostering their development in teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship.

    Michael has taken on several leadership roles within his church community. His engagement as a Youth Leader, Sunday School Teacher, and head of various church committees showcases his commitment to leadership and supporting young individuals in their spiritual growth and development.

    Michael enjoys traveling and spending his time with his family. He is married to Staci and they have three children and two grandchildren.

  • Smith_Steve

    Steve Smith

    Executive Director, New Zealand

    Steve has led the Westervelt business in New Zealand since 2007 when the purchase of Poronui, a large and iconic high-country property, was completed. During this time the business has developed from a fishing lodge operating part of the year to establish itself as New Zealand’s premier sporting lodge. At the same time the property has developed to support a diversified operation of tourism, farming, and forestry operation.

    After growing up in the Wellington region of New Zealand, Steve attended both Victoria and Newcastle Upon Tyne (his birthplace) universities. His ecological studies supported his passion for the outdoors. If he hasn’t been working in the rivers, wetlands, and mountains of New Zealand he has been fishing, hunting, diving, or running in them!

    Before joining The Westervelt Company, he held senior roles at Fish & Game New Zealand. Steve’s experience leading conservation and angler and hunter programmes has been an ideal fit with Westervelt’s core values of environmental stewardship. He takes a leading role in environmental initiatives in the Taharua and Mohaka catchments.

    Steve recently transitioned to a role of Executive Director with the aim of protecting the companies interests in New Zealand and ensuring long term sustainable growth.

    He is lucky enough to have a very patient wife Tracey, and three children who he foolishly still struggles to keep up with!

  • Mike Williams 2024

    Mike Williams

    Corporate Strategic Planning and Improvement Director

    A native of Maysville, Kentucky, Mike received a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and completed the Fuqua School of Business Advanced Management Program at Duke University. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and holds certifications in Process Mastery, Process Reengineering, and Process Expertise.

    In addition to his current strategic planning and process improvement responsibilities, Mike has more than 40 years of experience in manufacturing, logistics, and procurement in the forest products sectors.

    Mike currently serves as a Board member and Chairman of the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway Development Council, is a Board member of the Agnes Zointz Transportation Museum, and serves on the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences Board of Visitors. He is a member of the Strategic Consortium of Intelligence Professionals, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, and the American Society for Quality. He previously served on the executive Board of the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association and was Co-chair of the European-based Sustainable Biomass Program Standards Committee. He is a former Board member with the Southwest Missouri and West Alabama Councils of the Boy Scouts of America.

    Mike and his wife Nelle have one daughter and are members of St. Francis of Assisi University Parish in Tuscaloosa.