Brent Keefer (’87 B.S., ’88 M.S. forestry) has devoted himself to the belief that good stewardship of resources is good business. While the endless meetings, phone calls, and emails he faces as president of the Hancock Timber Resource Group may seem boring to some, Keefer sees them as an opportunity to help his employees and investors connect with sustainable resource management on a personal level.

Hancock Timber, the largest timberland investment management firm in the world, provides an opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios by helping them purchase and maintain large-scale forests. The company manages the operations of these forests on behalf of its investors and is currently responsible for 6.1 million acres of forest throughout six countries.

For Keefer, true success is measured on a slightly smaller scale. His favorite days are spent not in an office but in the field, meeting face to face with his employees and investors. “I can talk with potential investors in the office all day long about sustainable resource management,” Keefer noted, “but when I take them into the forest to really show them how we manage resources, they make a connection and become excited.”

Keefer’s commitment to helping others understand the importance of resource management extends past his business life, however. A longtime supporter of the College of Natural Resources and Environment, Keefer donates to the college annually and established a scholarship in 2012 awarded each year to an undergraduate student committed to making a difference in the field of natural resources.

Citing a longtime love of learning as his inspiration for giving, he said, “I want to see people connect with natural resources and understand the potential for managing those resources sustainably.”

“Virginia Tech is a special place for me,” explained Keefer, who serves on the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation Advisory Board, dedicated to supporting the continued success of the department’s programs. Starting shortly after graduation with small donations, Keefer has been able to gradually increase his support of the college over the years and sees his donations as an opportunity to educate others and make a difference in the way natural resources are managed by future generations. “It doesn’t matter what amount you give,” he said. “Once you start, you find it becomes incredibly rewarding.”