O’Laughlin is a Professor of Forestry and Policy Sciences and full-time Director of the Policy Analysis Group in the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho. He earned a BSBA in business finance at the University of Denver. After service as a U.S. Army artillery office in Vietnam, he worked in a manufacturing firm for three years before earning an MS in forestry and PhD in forest policy and economics from the University of Minnesota. During the 1980s he was tenured at Texas A&M University while teaching forest policy and forest resource economics. He moved to Idaho in 1989 to direct the Policy Analysis Group, a position created by the Idaho Legislature to provide objective data and analysis on natural resource and land-use issues important to Idaho citizens, as suggested by an advisory committee of the state’s natural resource leaders. Those have included endangered species conservation, water quality, and sustainable forest management on state and federal lands. Recently he has focused on wildfire policy, forest carbon management, and wood bioenergy. In the past 5 years he was invited to give 90 off-campus presentations. (See www.uidaho.edu/cnr/pag.) He co-authored a Forest Resource Policy textbook (Wiley, 1993), currently being revised as a Natural Resource Policy textbook (Waveland Press, 2015). He is a member of the Society of Policy Scientists and a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters (SAF). In 2010 he received the SAF’s prestigious Award in Forest Science for distinguished individual research in managerial and social sciences leading to advances in forestry. Professional service includes the Inland Empire SAF Forest Policy Committee (chair, 1997-present) and the Western Governors’ Association Forest Health Advisory Committee (2004-2013), leading efforts in woody biomass utilization that culminated with a WGA Policy Resolution he drafted. In 2008 he was appointed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to chair the Forestry/Biomass Task Force for the Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance and wrote their 2009 report on opportunities and challenges for additional wood bioenergy in the state. He also was appointed to the Carbon Issues Task Force, and wrote the forestry sections in their report. He is currently a member of the SAF Biogenic Carbon Response Team, tasked with providing information to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decide how carbon dioxide emissions from wood bioenergy facilities should be regulated.
Role(s) in BANR: Executive Committee member for the University of Idaho team, and investigator on Task 3.6 activities related to socioeconomics and policy analysis.