MISSISSIPPI FORESTRY ASSOCIATION'S
83RD ANNUAL MEETING
OCTOBER 21-28, 2020
Max Nova is the co-founder of SilviaTerra. He has spent the last decade designing, building, and deploying precision forestry tools for some of the largest landowners in the US. Using satellites, cloud computing, and mobile technology, SilviaTerra collaborated with Microsoft to develop the first high-resolution forest inventory of the United States. This data is now informing markets for natural capital like carbon, wildlife habitat, and fire risk. Born and raised in Louisville, KY, Max earned a degree in computer science from Yale University.
John Rounsaville is the interim executive director for the Mississippi Development Authority, a position he was appointed to in May 2020 by Governor Tate Reeves. Prior to that, he was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as the State Director for USDA Rural Development, a position he held from 2017-2020. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve in the same position from 2006-2008. Rounsaville served as Vice President of Strategic Services for Waggoner Engineering, Inc. from 2008-2017. He also worked for U.S. Rep. Charles W. "Chip" Pickering as Deputy Chief of Staff and for Governor Haley Barbour as a policy advisor. Rounsaville holds various distinctions for his military service, including medals for Air Force Meritorious Service, Commendation and Achievement; Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, and the Mississippi War Medal. He also currently serves as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Major at the 186th in the Mississippi Air Force National Guard. Rounsaville received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Mississippi State University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi. John and his wife, Laura, reside in Madison with their sons Luke, 10, Graham, 8, and baby girl Jane Reese.
Keith Biggs began his career at Hewitt, Coleman & Associates as a Field Representative with the North Carolina Forestry Association Self Insurers Fund now known as Forestry Mutual. In March of 1997, Keith became the Executive Director. In 1999 when the Fund converted to a Mutual Keith was named President of Forestry Mutual Insurance Company. In 2001 Forestry Mutual created a wholly-owned commercial lines insurance agency now known as FMIC Agency Inc. and was named President of the Agency as well as Forestry Mutual. He serves on of the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Forestry Association, Carolina Loggers Association, Forest Resources Association, and on the Advisory Board for the American Loggers Association and Team Safe Trucking.
Mark Fryer joined Davis-Garvin (now AssuredPartners) in 1997. As part of his duties, Mark is responsible for the specialty programs the agency has developed for the forest products industry including the hunt lease liability, timberland liability, consulting foresters liability, prescribed burn liability, property, standing timber, and reforestation programs. Mark serves on the boards of the Georgia Forestry Association and the Forest Resources Association and has served on the Executive Committees for both. Mark became a Certified Public Accountant in 1993 and received the Certified Workers Compensation Counselor designation in 2015 and the Certified Insurance Counselor designation in 2016. Mark lives in Columbia, SC with his wife Michelle. They have three children. Mark and his wife enjoy family time, especially time outdoors. Mark and his family attend First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC.
Secretary Michael Watson is married to Lauren and is dad to three beautiful girls, Gracie Pierce, Annie, and Cora Elizabeth. He is from Pascagoula, a graduate of Pascagoula High School, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Mississippi School of Law. He served twelve years as a strong conservative in the state senate and is now serving as the 36th Secretary of State.
Taylor Sledge is the owner and founder of Sledge and Company, a financial services business providing services in financial strategies, estate planning, and transition. Taylor specializes in working with small business owners, executives, retirees, and professionals in the areas of estate, business succession and retirement, and risk management. He developed a process-driven approach, which follows proven steps to develop a customized plan that is well suited to his client’s individual situation and needs. This process involves several well-designed areas to help the client maintain control and create synergy amongst all advisors; but most importantly, taking action with confidence and the capability to manage it.
John P. Schwanis is the founder and CEO of Schwan Financial Group (SFG), a financial, estate, and business succession planning firm based in Aberdeen, South Dakota. John and his team are obsessed with helping businesses/owners and professionals protect what matters most so they can enjoy life with the confidence of financial freedom. John’s passion for helping people has garnered him recognition as a leader in the industry including speaking events across the country; publications in Investment Advisor, Financial Planning Magazine, and U.S. News to name a few. SFG has also been recognized as a top planning firm by Forbes, and John personally is an MDRT Lifetime Top of the Table, has won New York Life’s prestigious Council President Award, and is a perennial member of their Chairman’s Cabinet, awarded only to the top financial planners in the company. John is a 1982 graduate Minot State University, and he and his wife Laurie have four adult children and four grandchildren.