RESEARCH TEAM

Todd Morgan, Director

Todd Morgan is the Bureau's director of Forest Industry Research. He oversees and conducts research related to timber harvesting, logging utilization, and primary wood products manufacturing throughout the Western United States. He is also active in the Missoula and national chapters of the Society of American Foresters.

Todd earned a B.A. in philosophy and a B.S. in forest science at The Pennsylvania State University before completing an M.S. in forestry at The University of Montana-Missoula. Prior to working at the Bureau, he was a research silviculturist for the Texas Forest Service.


Steve Hayes, Research Forester

Steve Hayes is a Research Forester at the Bureau. His focus is on the forest products industry and manufacturing in Montana and other Western states. He is an active member of the Society of American Foresters and has been a Certified Forester since 2000. Steve earned his B.S. in forest resource management and M.S. in forestry from the University of Montana-Missoula. Prior to working at the Bureau, he spent 30 years working in private forest industry as a forester for Plum Creek Timber Company and Champion International Corporation.

Erik Berg, Research Forester

Erik Berg is a research forester with the BBER Forest Industry Research group. Erik investigates the dynamics of the forest products industry in Montana and the other western U.S. states.

Erik worked as a fire science research leader, forest science researcher, and forest management specialist for the federal government throughout a 35 year career prior to joining the BBER in December 2010. Erik completed an undergraduate forestry degree (1973) and master’s degrees (1974-1989) from The University of Idaho and Washington State University prior to earning his Ph.D. in forest ecology (2002) from Clemson University.


Eric Simmons, Research Associate

Eric Simmons is a Research Associate with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana. A Montana native with pioneer roots who is at home in the outdoors. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from Whitworth University in Spokane Washington. His background in forestry with the U. S. Forest Service includes work in pre-sale, stand exam, forest inventory, reforestation, fuels management, and fire suppression. Since returning to forestry in 2011 to lead the logging utilization research efforts at the BBER he has expanded into forest products industry research with analyses in Idaho and Oregon as well as assisting with the 4 Corners analysis particularly in Arizona and New Mexico.


Chelsea McIver, Research Social Scientist

Chelsea Pennick McIver is a research social scientist with the Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research. She holds a BA in Rural and Environmental Sociology and an MS in Forestry from the University of Montana and is currently working on a PhD in Natural Resource Policy and Administration at the University of Idaho. Her research interests center on public lands policy and its impact on rural communities and local governments. She has published extensively on the forest products industry across the West as well as on federal contracting policy and its impact on local business utilization, the influence of collaboration on the pace and scale of management on public lands and on the fiscal burden of wildfire suppression on states. During her time at the University of Idaho, Chelsea was a research and policy analyst with the Policy Analysis Group in the College of Natural Resources and taught Forest Policy and Administration to upper division forestry majors.

Thale Dillon, Research Economist

Thale Dillon is an economic researcher with BBER’s Forest Industry Research Program. She holds degrees in both economics and forest economics, earning her master’s degree from the University of Montana in 1999. She was involved in tourism and forestry research until 2006, and served as economic researcher and director for Montana KIDS COUNT from 2006 until 2019, when she rejoined the FIR program. Thale is involved in a multitude of the Program’s projects, providing economic analysis and editorial assistance, as well as managing surveying and data collection efforts for FIRP’s work with the Timber Product Output Program and the Forest Industry Data Collection System.

Samuel Scott, Forest Economist

Samuel Scott is a Forest Economist with Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). He holds a B.S. (University of Montana) in Forestry and an M.S. (Virginia Tech) in Forest Economics. Prior to the Bureau, Sam served as an Economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and worked in timber and silviculture with both the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. His primary research interests are statistical timber appraisal methods, employment and income impacts of the forest products industry across the West, and bioeconomic modeling.

Mike Niccolucci, Forest Economist

Michael Niccolucci is a Forest Economist with the Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). He holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Montana in Economics. Prior to working for the Bureau, Mike spent 35 years working for the USDA Forest Service as an Economist. His primary research interests are timber markets, timber valuation, and economic modeling.

Benjamin Irey, Research Associate

Ben Irey is a Research Social Scientist with the Forest Industry Research Program. He holds a B.S. in Resource Conservation and an M.S. in Resource Management from the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation. Previously, Ben was the Conservation Connect Program Manager at the National Forest Foundation and a Social Scientist at Ecosystem Research Group.

Luke Koch, Research Associate

Luke Koch worked at BBER as a student then became a full-time employee. Luke has no experience in forestry but learning about the forest products industry is something he is glad to be a part of. Luke's main responsibilities are coding and entering facility data, along with other miscellaneous tasks.

Clayton Dutton, Database Administrator/Programmer

Clayton Dutton is a database administrator with the Forest Industry Research Program at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). He holds his A.A. and B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Montana and an M.S. in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) with an emphasis in Database Administration from the University of Denver. Clayton has spent over 5 years working in enterprise-level ICT environments including healthcare, academia, and industrial.


CONTACT

Todd Morgan, Director
Forest Industry Research Program
406.243.5113