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Forestry’s future leaders: Meet Janis Simpkins


October 20, 2021
By Canadian Forest Industries Staff Report

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As more forest industry professionals reach retirement, it’s more important than ever that we highlight the next generation of leaders. CFI’s annual Top 10 Under 40 contest is our way of doing so. This year marks the ninth consecutive year we have scoured nominations from across Canada to find individuals who exemplify the best of our sector, from outstanding log haulers to sawmillers, foresters and others. The result is a list of high-performing professionals who are poised to lead the industry.

To acknowledge and highlight each winner’s contributions, CFI will feature one of 2021’s winners every week for the next 10 weeks.

This week, we introduce our readers to Janis Simpkins, senior vice-president at Alberta Forest Products Association in Edmonton, Alta.

Although Janis Simpkins has only been with the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) since July 2020, she made an immediate impact on the organization, says Jason Krips, AFPA’s president.

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“Janis has an incredible work ethic and is an empowering leader who brings an infectious energy level and an insatiable ability to learn complex files in a short period of time,” Krips says.

In her role, Janis leads the AFPA’s advocacy on regulatory reform. Her conversations with senior provincial government regulatory officials on changing to an outcomes-based model led the Alberta government to choose forestry as the pilot industry for a new streamlined process for industrial facility renewals, which will help forestry companies save time and resources.

The 39-year-old provides leadership to the AFPA’s environment, forest policy and sustainability units. She also chairs the Forest Sector Red Tape Panel, leading the design of an industry submission that quantified impact and prioritized areas of impact within the forest industry.

This work with the provincial government is a natural transition for Janis, who previously spent five years working for the government of Alberta.

“Having Janis’ skillsets, leadership skills and energy have made AFPA a go-to industry organization for individuals looking to join a renewed, forward-looking organization and vastly increased AFPA’s relevance with our key stakeholder and government interlocutors,” Krips says.

Up next: we showcase the achievements of winner Spencer Stewart.