On March 15th 2017, Dr. Robert Hrubes will retire from his position as Executive Vice President at SCS Global Services. To celebrate his career, dedication and achievements, peers and colleagues have sent in well wishes to commemorate their professional relationships and experiences with Dr. Hrubes.
"Robert is like a good French fry – crunchy on the outside and squishy on the inside. In his FSC work, he embodies the values of the institution – robust debate, building off the ideas of others, and ultimately, seeing compromise as a valid solution. He’s one of the good ones, a sustainability pioneer. We stand on his shoulders." Ian Hanna, Head of Investments & Partnerships, FSC International
"I have spent the past six years serving with Robert on the Board of Directors for the Forest Stewards Guild. He is a passionate advocate for ecological forestry and ethical business practices, and over the past several years, I never left a meeting where I was unsure of his opinion on a particular issue! Robert’s leadership inside the Guild and within the greater forestry community is very much appreciated, and all of us at the Guild wish him well as we tip our hats for a job well done." Ken Smith, Professor and Assistant Dean, University of the South Sewanee
"Dr. Robert Hrubes has left a major imprint on me. We know each other through the Forest Stewards Guild primarily. I recall some memorable impromptu speeches he was moved to make at Forest Stewards Guild meetings, to a community hungry for this type of very personal leadership. He is a great thinker and abnormally motivated about his craft; developing systems and advocating for policies that conserve forests –and I mean actually conserve forests effectively. I know we can rely on him to continue to fight the good fight, indeed he has promised to do so forever, though my hope is that he will take time for himself and to celebrate his other interests and hobbies in this next chapter. Importantly, Robert will never be boring. In a different time and place, and if I were a foot soldier, I would be happy to follow Robert into battle. However, I’m glad the setting for our discourse is peaceful. With Robert as a participant in our struggle I am more confident that the greater good, the public interest, will win the day." Amber Ellering
"Dear Robert, over the last 5 years, with the support of the certification and audit community, a number of us have been involved in the development and demonstration of a mapping and monitoring service for Forest Stewardship Council. At a very early stage, we identified you, as an FSC Grandee with deep experience in forest certification, as someone whose support would be very important. In the early stages, you were always honest in your opinion on the limited potential for remote sensing but when the system was demonstrated to you and your colleagues at SCS, you were gracious enough to acknowledge that the platform has the potential to enhance the robustness and efficiency of FSC FM audits and the technology has clear applicability and utility to execution of FSC FM audits. Your positive statements to this effect were very important to the team. The TransparentForests Team are very grateful for the support we received from you and we all wish you a very happy retirement." Charles Crosthwaite Eyre, Peter Wells, Francesco Holecz
“In the cacophony of voices in the FSC democracy, Robert’s has been one of the few clear and concise ones that was always a pleasure to hear and always on target.” Skip Krasny, Ph.D.
"Robert has always been an encyclopedia of forestry information - and a reliable gut-check on what actually works in the real world. He has always made himself available and generously shared his knowledge of policy and science. Thank you, Robert! And best wishes for this next phase of your life!" Lewis Buchner
"For years I had heard stories about auditing with Robert Hrubes. The tales reflected adventure for some, fear for others and overall admiration for a man that brings rich experiences in forestry to his work in forest certification. They say that he prefers to be called Robert (or Bob to a few, well…maybe not). He is a leader and on an audit is not shy about making it known who is in charge; “This is not a debate, please answer the question!” So with a little trepidation I found that I’d be accompanying Robert on a 2016 Wisconsin DNR lands audit. After three days of auditing, I found Robert to be thoughtful, knowledgeable, patient, and down-to-earth with field staff, especially with the many young professionals who have joined the DNR. He probed gently and expressed an easy curiosity that helped staff tell their story. And at the end of the day this experienced campaigner has simple tastes. He says that there is nothing better than a Wisconsin supper club and a plate of “Broasted” chicken with a cold local brew to be enjoyed with a view over a local lake. Robert says that he may pick and choose a few “fun” audits to keep his skills and wits sharp in the future. I hope that a Wisconsin forestry audit makes that list. Robert I congratulate you on a great career and I’m grateful for your contributions to SCS Global Services, the Forest Stewardship Council, the profession of forestry and to improving the forestry operations of the Wisconsin DNR. It has been and I hope will continue to be a pleasure working with you. Best wishes." Mark Heyde
"I think of Robert as my older brother, the sort you look up to and who gives you the confidence to be better than you are. He was a year or two ahead of me as an undergraduate at Iowa State University back in the 1970’s, but I know him best as a former client (I represented one of the largest FSC forest management certificate holders in the U.S.) and more recently in my role as forestry auditor. We accomplished several incredibly complex audits together, along with other SCS team members. Robert gave a confidence-building sense of value to managers wherever we went. Some would not have stayed the course were it not for Robert's influence. I wish Robert the best in retirement." Paul Pingrey
"On our refrigerator at home is one of those magnets that reads, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Working with Robert was a lot like that, whether in the field or when helping create what became the Forest Stewards Guild. For the 25+ years that I have been privileged to know Robert as a colleague and friend, he has earned a reputation for establishing, maintaining—and insisting upon—the highest professional standards in sustainable forest management. Where others might have been willing to fudge a little and get on with it, Robert could be counted on to steadfastly hold the line until proper standards were met. Not that other worthy colleagues didn't grumble occasionally, but in the end we all admired Robert for his commitment, courage, and unfailing integrity in defense of the world’s forests in all their richness and diversity. Leadership is something mostly learned not from a book but by example. Whether in technical mastery or professional principles, Robert set a high bar, but he also showed by his example how we too could reach that high bar. Congratulations on an honorable career, Robert. All of us—and the world’s forests—are better for what you’ve accomplished." V. Alaric Sample, Ph.D.
"Robert is not just having amazing career in SCS, he himself is an amazing person who certainly, therefore, deserves amazing career. He certainly has a "personality" in the best meaning of this word - an opposite meaning of being "grey or boring" - an interesting personality with a necessary charisma to deal with different clients with different characters and lots of challenges expected and unexpected and, when necessary, to impose his will. Robert could have been a top class politician since he can convince people about his opinion and sometimes also, as mentioned above, use his strong will to achieve what he wants. I very much like his straightforward and open attitude against our fruitful certification partnership in the Baltics, but by being straightforward Robert never exaggerated or mixed up open talk with irritating conversation or views. But, knowing him and his energy, which he still have in abundance, I do not believe that he is retiring anyway. Such an energy should be spent and used and I wish that he will do its best to make use of it!!" Didzis Liepins
"Dr. Hrubes is a very fair, objective and employee-motivating leader. May his good works remain with SCS. Best retirement wishes!" Richard Bonsi
"Congratulations to Robert on his well-deserved retirement. Working with Robert, I have appreciated his steadfast support for ecological forestry and firm commitment to the highest standards for forest management. Robert's career has helped built an economically viable path forward for ecological forestry." Alexander Evans
"I have known Robert for 20 years. He is a founding member and long-time leader of the Forest Stewards Guild, the organization I now direct. In the time I have known Robert he has consistently and firmly upheld ethical action in our profession as a matter of principle. He has inspired generations of foresters to value doing the right thing, and to find the highest meaning in our work. No one embodies the spirit of our organization more strongly and passionately than Robert and we wish him well in his next chapter."Fred Clark, Executive Director, The Forest Stewards Guild
"A couple of years back a few of the Lake States were discussing the pros and cons of becoming members of the Forest Stewardship Council and someone said – “let’s pull in the ‘sage’ (Robert Hrubes) and see what he thinks. When you explore the term ‘sage’, you come up with - a profoundly wise person; someone revered for the possession of wisdom, judgement, and experience; wise through reflection and experience. All great descriptors of Robert. I have known and worked with Robert for over a decade and what he has brought to the world of forest certification cannot be matched. I have enjoyed the conversations and thoughts he has shared. Best wishes for your next chapter!" Tim Beyer – Forest Certification Program MN DNR.
"I have known Robert over about the last 16 years. Mostly I was a lead auditor for a competing certification body, who encountered Robert through his work on audits that I was watching closely. On one occasion I had the great pleasure of being a co-team leader with him on a large project involving the two CBs. Mostly I met and worked with Robert on FSC committees, at meetings and at FSC General Assemblies. Robert was always an inspiring leader in those situations – honest, articulate and no nonsense. When something really needed to be said, it was Robert who got it said – the plain simple valuable insight. Although I worked for a competitor, I always greatly appreciated Robert’s view and I often asked his opinion on many questions I got involved in. He gave a great profile for SCS and generated a tremendous respect for that organization. He counselled and advised a lot of us. Robert tells me he is now an emeritus, and will continue to be involved in FSC circles. That is great news. He will for sure be missed by those of you at SCS – but we will value his on-going contribution to FSC and better forest management around the globe." Keith Moore RPF
"Robert is never shy to speak his mind, and he is always professional, principled, and insightful. Through Robert’s contributions to SCS Global and to forestry in general he has left a lasting impact. The institutions he has worked with (NGO’s, timber companies, public land managers, etc) have benefited greatly from his tireless efforts. Perhaps more importantly the millions of acres of forests that these groups help manage and conserve are better places thanks to Robert. Wishing you all the best in your retirement and new adventures. Happy trails." Dave Wager
"Way back in the day, when certification was in it’s infancy, I went to a one-day workshop in Oregon to learn more about this crazy, controversial concept. The person assigned to present FSC was none other than Robert Hrubes. It was a tough crowd, and Robert got peppered with a lot of pointed comments from a mostly skeptical audience. Robert’s message wasn’t entirely well received, and more than a few people – including the speaker – were getting a little ‘hot under the collar’. A pretty typical scene back in those days! Years later I changed jobs and came to work for SmartWood, aka the Rainforest Alliance. Maybe Robert’s talk that day was part of the calculation that led me to this new career path, who knows! Anyhow, it wasn’t long before I started bumping into Robert at various venues, both of us working the same crowd promoting FSC and our separate organizations’ credentials. I recognized him from that workshop in Oregon, and also now realized that he was our direct competition, i.e. chief rival and adversary. Grrrr. Over the years we’ve had plenty of back and forth, some head butting, maybe a few tense moments, and even a few collaborative ventures. And over time, I also got to know Robert personally. As a result, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Robert as a thoughtful and principled professional, and more importantly, as a genuinely decent human being. I now consider Robert as a friend and kindred spirit, and I’m truly thankful for that. I’ve always thought of SCS as RA’s closest competitor; not only in terms of our work, but also in terms of mutual respect and admiration. And that’s largely due to Robert’s presence and influence. Honestly, I’ll miss seeing him around, though I doubt he’ll manage to stray very far from the global community of forest stewards that he’s helped shape over the past two decades. Between sailing all day, and pounding the keyboards all night, I know the forester in him will make sure those boots don’t collect too much dust. Congratulations Robert on a remarkable career! Now, go have some fun!" Dave Bubser
"Dear Robert, first a client, then a colleague and finally a food friend. After so many years walking the forest certification road together, I am wishing you a lengthy and satisfying retirement. Our paths will continue to cross. Yours Gratefully," Dr. Hans Joachim Droste, FSC International Center
"The Michigan Department of Natural Resources extends our best wishes to Robert upon his retirement. His thoughtful guidance, patience, and occasional stern direction along the path to our land management certificate was invaluable. His passion and dedication to good forest management has left a lasting impression upon our continuing good stewardship of Michigan’s state forest resources.Thank you Robert!" David L. Price, Forest Planning and Operations Section Manager
"Years ago when I started working on FSC as a junior staff person, I came to know the revered “Dr. Hrubes” as one of the fathers of the movement. I was always amazed that he would remember my name and take time to talk to me. My appreciation for him, his commitment to forests, his wise words when the going has gotten rough, has only grown over the years. I wish him the very best in his retirement – he’s surely earned it – but the FSC community will be the worse off for it! All to best to you, Robert!" Kerry Cesareo
"Your time to retire from your successful career path at SCS has come! It is a great honor to me to have come to know you through your valuable cooperation with FSC and hope that you will have a great start of this new era in your life. Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them, Louis Armstrong, KEEP YOUR UNIQUE AND POWERFUL MUSIC GOING. All the best!" Cecilia Gervasi
"Dear Robert, with you leaving SCS, I will lose one of my favorite (former) competitors! Thank you for your endless time and effort in improving the forest management standards certification world, thank you for always choosing the right magic words in the numerous painful CBs meeting we endured together in the past 14 years, thank you for being a role model and encouraging me and others to actively engage and push for change in our world! Foresters think alike across oceans and continents! Robert, we will miss you! I wish you all the best for the projects in life and retirement yet to come!" Carsten Huljus
"I can certainly say that I would not be where I am today in my life without Robert. It was Robert who first hired me at SCS almost ten years ago. He had the faith in my abilities to allow me to grow in my career at SCS and obtain the fulfilling work I do today for the company. Over that period, Robert also became a close friend. From teaching me how to use a diameter tape in the forest to trying to teach me the difference between the Cunningham and the outhaul on a sailboat (I still get them confused) Robert has shared with me his wide ranging passions. I never did get onboard with collecting antique radios or idolizing the Allman Brothers but I was certainly influenced in other ways! Thanks Robert for the inspiration and good times! Best of luck on your retirement! Your leadership left a profound impact on all of us." Todd Frank, Director Southeast Asia, SCS Global Services
"Robert, my very best wishes for your next phase. It’s been an honor, pleasure, and challenge to learn from and work alongside you in various capacities over the years. In a sense, my career began with your work – yes, it’s all your fault – when as a research assistant with the Planning & Conservation League in 1989, I was handed your study on forest land use conversion. Of course, we know each other largely in the context of the Forest Stewardship Council. There is no doubt that the FSC – and by extension the many responsible resource management and supply chain systems modeled on it – has benefitted enormously from your wisdom, tenacity, and integrity. The list of people who can take as much credit for developing the system and keeping it honest is surely very short. I only hope that we will continue to cross paths, perhaps on two wheels." Daniel Hall
"Robert has left his mark on forestry in many ways, large and small. We all know about FSC and the Forest Guild, two of his lasting contributions to the profession and our larger society. Many may not know just how often Robert took the time to provide support, counsel, or mentoring to younger professionals, helping individuals in our profession who benefitted greatly from his knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Finally, from the perspective of a colleague, it was always a hoot to work with Robert! He knows how to have a good time, even when pushing his team or colleagues to the brink of exhaustion on a big project. Enjoy all the happiness in your well-deserved retirement!" Mike Ferrucci
"For all those who worked with Robert, it’s no surprise how much he will be missed!! I hope that the celebration is a terrific event, and that everyone who is there gives him a GREAT shout out – for his many contributions to the Forest Stewardship Council, as well as to SCS. Robert: Thank you for always telling it like it is, and for persisting to try to make our sustainable forest initiatives work better. No one has been as helpful, honest and critical – in a good way! With all good wishes!" Barbara Bramble
"Robert, It’s been a true pleasure to work with you over the years – on FSC US Standards, on the IGIs, etc., and to get to know you and Lynne outside of the work environment. I desperately hope that you will continue engage with FSC and responsible forestry – you are one of the most trusted, knowledgeable and committed people in this arena. Thank you for all you’ve done to advance responsible forestry across the globe! Here’s to an amazing career – and hopefully, many more years of contribution!! With congratulations and a big hug." Fran Price
"You can never retire from what you have done across this good land for the forestry idea with your contributions to the Forest Stewards Guild. You will never get away from your stick-to-it attitude, your good insights and analytic skills, because I will be here in my little way thanking you. We have seen a lot of turf together and with all your talents out there to talk about, I must add a personal one, between you and me; I have always enjoyed hanging around with you, seeing what we could conjur up…….from the time we sat at the same table in the corner, first meeting and you said, “it would be wrong not to meet again”, the time we were lost in the darkness and you provided light, with you key button, no less, Simeone’s sauna beating one another with birch whips, and of course, your presence last summer when Fred White and I were honored. Rather than cloud up with too many thanks, let’s just keep going, finding another place to cross paths. Ross Morgan
"Robert gave me a start in my career, and for that I couldn't be more grateful. While I know that he won't just sit around and play golf in his retirement, I hope that he and Lynn get a chance to travel, sail and live life to the fullest!" Rori Cowan