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Alumni Profile: Linda Casey


   

Linda Casey Linda Casey, center


Aug. 15, 2014 – Linda Casey (’74 B.S. forestry) knew building a career in her preferred field wouldn’t be easy. “I was the only female forestry major in my class when I started,” she said. “I didn’t know of any women in the profession at the time.”

However, she’s refused to let anyone or anything hold her back. After telling friends she hoped to work in forestry after graduation, they balked. “They told me it was dominated by men and too tough for a woman,” Casey explained. “I figured it had to be a pretty good career if you’re told you can’t do something.”

Born and raised on a dairy farm in Southwest Virginia, Casey grew up understanding the value of hard work and grit as well as the rewards of meeting new challenges. Her upbringing gave her a love and appreciation of the land and the belief that we all share a responsibility to be good stewards of natural resources.

Casey’s time at Virginia Tech instilled in her the practice of never accepting “no” as an answer. “Being associated with professors who expected nothing but excellence helped prepare me for the workplace,” she said. “I worked full time for the first two years of school. My academic performance suffered to the point where I was advised to leave Tech, but professors encouraged me to stay and complete the program.”

Many faculty members had a profound impact on Casey’s life. “A few that really stood out were Richard Vasey, Henry Mosby, Harold Burkhart, Emmett Thompson, and Robert Parker,” she explained. “These men were professionals, experts in their field, had a love for teaching, and cared about their students. They were role models and mentors.” Vasey, in particular, encouraged Casey to persevere through disappointing periods in her career search. “He told me, if you can get your foot in the door, you can go from there,” Casey recalled. “All I needed was a chance.”

Throughout her career, Casey has constantly broken barriers in a male-dominated industry. After college, she became International Paper’s first female forester and spent 33 years with the company, moving from state to state and climbing the career ladder. Then she served as state forester in the Alabama Forestry Commission — the first woman to hold such a position in the Deep South. “I’ve always strived to do my best in whatever job I was assigned,” Casey said. “My professors taught me that a person could accomplish more than they gave themselves credit for — all you had to do was try.”

With each position, Casey looked forward to learning new things and being given more responsibility and accountability. “When I was with International Paper, I enjoyed working with suppliers, loggers, and wood procurement teams. After becoming state forester, I was honored to work with people responsible for providing a variety of services to forest landowners and others associated with Alabama’s natural resources.”

Casey loves spending time with John, her husband of 35 years, and their three children in addition to spoiling their three grandchildren.


    CNRE Newsmagazine Summer 2014 Cover

Summer 2014


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