The School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine is pleased to announce the recipients
of its 2020, 2021, and 2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The award recognizes graduates of
the school’s programs who have made significant contributions to the forest resource professions
and society. Typically, just one alum is recognized each year, but public presentations of the
award were canceled in 2020 and 2021.
Distinguished Alumni Awards will be presented to Mike Dann, Ken Laustsen, and Patrick
Strauch on Friday evening, October 14, to kickoff Homecoming Weekend on campus.
Mike Dann is the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award in Forest Resources recipient. Mike
earned his BS in Forest Management in 1968 and served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
He was employed from 1971-2007 by Seven Islands Land Company, the last 16 years as
woodlands manager. From 2007-2010, he was the SWOAM Land Trust forester. From 2009 to
2016 he was a lead auditor for the Forest Stewardship Council. Mike is an active member of the
Society of American Foresters (SAF), receiving the New England SAF Distinguished Service
award and the national SAF Fellow Award. He has served on numerous advisory boards as a
licensed forester and worked on the Maine Forest Practices Act. He also worked with the Maine
Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Maine Forest Service, the Maine Forest Products Council, and
the Forest Resources Association. Mike lives in Dixmont and enjoys working on his 150-acre
The 2021 recipient is Ken Laustsen. Ken received his BS in Forestry in 1974 and Masters of
Forestry in 2011. Ken recently finished a distinguished forest resources career that started in
1974 as a foreman doing brush control work for Asplundh. He worked for Great Northern Paper
Company from 1975-1999 as a development engineer, operations forester and woodlands
analyst. From 1999 until his retirement in 2021, Ken worked for the Maine Forest Service as the
state’s forest biometrician who guided the state into modern use of inventory sampling and
analysis to estimate the state’s wood supply and utilization. Ken has been a member of the
Society of American Foresters (SAF) since 1974, actively serving at the state, New England, and
national levels. His invaluable support for the profession was recognized when he was named an
SAF Fellow in 2008. Ken is both a SAF Certified Forester and Maine Licensed Professional
Forester. He received the United States Forest Service 2001 Director’s Award for Excellence,
and Maine Forest Products Council 2018 President’s Award.
The 2022 recipient is Patrick (Pat) Strauch. Pat received in BS in Forestry in 1981 and a MS
in silviculture in 1990. He worked for St. Regis Paper, U.S. Gypsum Company, Casella Waste
Systems and Sawyer Companies in Maine before becoming coordinator of the Maine Sustainable
Forestry Initiative in 2001. He became Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council
in 2004. Pat leads a diverse membership involving all aspects of the industry – loggers, truckers,
lawyers, bankers, landowners, forest management firms, land trusts, and forest product
companies. He builds consensus among members to help influence legislation and policies in
Augusta that support the forest products community in the state. In recognition of this
extraordinary challenge in leadership and communication, Pat received the W.D. Hagenstein
Communicators Award from the Society of American Foresters in 2014. In recent years, Pat was
a key partner in developing the “Forest Opportunity Roadmap/Maine” or FOR/Maine, a
blueprint for future development and support of Maine’s forest products industry.
The School of Forest Resources at the University of Maine is proud to have these three people as
alumni and look forward to honoring them on October 14. More information about the Alumni
and Friends Event and presentations of the Distinguished Alumni Award in Forest Resources can
be found at forest.umaine.edu/alumni-and-friends-event/.