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Forestry’s future leaders: meet Jessica Prior

December 1, 2021  By CFI staff

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 Jessica Prior, an assistant forester for AV Group NB in Nackawic, N.B.

Since Jessica  joined AV Group in 2017, she has progressively taken on more responsibility each season and developed into a leader, says Conway Elkins, AV Group’s woodlands manager. She has worked as a scaler, a harvesting supervisor, silviculture supervisor, and now an assistant forester.


In her current role, she is responsible for all silviculture activities across the company’s provincial operations, as well as the company’s environmental management system (EMS) and certification duties.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jessica was also active in her community, visiting schools and attending career fairs to help promote the forest industry. The 32-year-old also helped out with Forest NB’s meetings.

“She’s very motivated,” says Pierre Mezzetta, Jessica’s direct manager at AV Group.

“She’s always said, ‘I want to be the best at whatever I do.’ She’s very goal-oriented, but while she’s worked towards those goals, she’s very conscientious – she works very well with a team and has great communication skills.”

“Jessica takes on each new task with zeal, eager to learn and succeed,” Elkins adds. “All along the way Jessica can be found with a smile and brings a personality to our office that brings people together and challenges us to succeed. In a short period of time, Jessica has made a positive impact to our operations and will continue to succeed as a forestry leader.”

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