Lowcountry Land Trust is excited to introduce Jim Porter, one of our newest board members. Jim currently serves as a Strategic Advisor for WestRock, where, prior to retiring in December 2020, he served as President of Business Development and Latin America. Jim, and his wife Pam, are both very active in the conservation community, and we are overjoyed to have his guidance and expertise on the board. With over thirty years of experience in forestry management and a storied history with other conservation groups, Jim is a crucial addition to our board. Both Jim and his wife Pam are passionate conservationists with a conservation easement on their property in Jasper County, SC. To formally introduce Jim to the LLT community, we decided to ask him a few questions about his passion for conservation.
What inspired you to join LLT’s Board of Trustees?
My wife Pam and I have a strong value for conservation of Lowcountry forest lands and important bodies of water, both of which provide clean water, important wood fiber, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and recreational opportunities for generations to come. We have an LLT Conservation Easement on 1,650 Acres of our 3,000 Acre Jasper County Tree Farm, Bailey Mill Plantation.
Are you a member of any other environmental groups, boards, or organizations?
I currently serve on the board of directors of the American Forest Foundation and the Family Forest Carbon Program, a joint venture of the Nature Conservancy and the American Forest Foundation. I am the past chairman of the Fibre Box Association; past chairman of the Containerboard Sector of the American Forest & Paper Association; previously on the board of directors for the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, the International Corrugated Case Association, the Forest History Society, and the World Containerboard Organization. I have a personal interest in the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, The Longleaf Alliance, the National Deer Association, the Quail Forever Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Wild Turkey Federation.
What activities do you enjoy in the Lowcountry outdoors?
I enjoy hunting upland game birds, waterfowl, wild turkey, white tail deer, squirrels, rabbits etc.; shooting clays and target shooting with handguns and rifles; fishing both freshwater and saltwater; boating on the salt marsh tidal estuaries and ocean; bird watching and identification; hiking, and simply enjoying the quiet beauty of the forest, agriculture lands and waterways.
Why is land conservation important to you?
The natural beauty and biodiversity of the Lowcountry must be conserved for our current society and future generations. Clean air, water, wildlife, and the enjoyment of the Lowcountry outdoors lifestyle, rely on us conserving important lands.
Is there any other information you would like to share with the LLT community?
Both my wife and I are very active in conservation circles. Pam is on the Board of Forestry Association of SC, Board of the Port Royal Sound Foundation, Board of the SC Conservation Bank, and very active with Clemson extension, Women Owning Woodlands, The Audubon Society of SC etc.
Jim Porter retired from WestRock in December 2020 and continues to serve as a strategic advisor to the company and on Joint Venture Boards. Prior to retiring, he was president of Business Development and Latin America. In this role, he oversaw WestRock’s ongoing development of new business opportunities and management responsibility for the company’s operations in Latin America. Jim was also responsible for WestRock’s fiber procurement, including global forest and recycled fiber supply materials. Previously, he held the role of president, Paper Solutions, and president, Corrugated Packaging, at WestRock. He joined RockTenn in 2008 with the acquisition of Southern Container Corp., where he was president and chief operating officer.
Prior to RockTenn, Jim served as president of Solvay Paperboard, a subsidiary containerboard company of Southern Container. He joined Solvay in 1993 as vice president with responsibility for building the team and operating the facility, which grew into a state-of-the-art, 820,000 ton recycled containerboard mill. WestRock acquired Southern Container and Solvay Paperboard in 2008.
Prior to 1993, Jim spent 19 years with Menasha Corporation, beginning in the company’s Timberland Division and ultimately becoming general manager of Menasha’s Paperboard Division.
In 2018, Jim was inducted into the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation’s Circle of Distinguished Leaders. He was also presented the RISI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018. Jim is a member of the Society of American Foresters, Certified Forester # 306013.
Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management from the University of Missouri, in addition to graduate studies in business administration at Western Michigan University, he took a sabbatical and completed the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School.
Jim has three children and seven grandchildren, lives in Bluffton, South Carolina, with his wife, Pam. They have a 3000 acre, American Tree Farm System, Certified Tree Farm 35 miles away in Jasper County, SC which is their current family passion.