WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Forest Owners (NAFO) announced today that Kate Houston Gatto will join the organization as its new Vice President of Communications. Gatto will lead NAFO’s advocacy communications, working to provide a voice inside the Beltway for the private families, businesses and organizations that own or manage more than 80 million acres of forestland across the country.

“We are excited to tap into Kate’s strategic expertise, enthusiasm and energy as we take our advocacy program to an even higher level,” said NAFO President and CEO Dave Tenny. “Kate brings a personal connection to our story and a personal passion to our issues that will support our members and advance our policy priorities.”

Gatto joins NAFO as both an advocacy communications expert and a member of the forestry community. Her family owns several small tree operations in Mississippi, and they are active members of the Mississippi Forestry Association and other local groups.

“I know from my own family experience that it takes clear vision, a significant investment, and a lot of love and patience to grow a tree,” said Gatto. “I am excited to draw a clearer connection between working forests and the wood that that frames our homes, the paper products we all depend on, and the clean air and water that are the wonderful byproducts of a healthy, growing forest. More people in Washington, DC and around the country need to understand the implicit relationship we all have with privately owned forestland.”

Gatto joins NAFO from Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a global public affairs and communications firm, where she spent more than 10 years leading national advocacy and reputation building campaigns for a variety of businesses and organizations including the Nuclear Energy Institute, USAID’s Center for International Disaster Information, VMware, and the National 4-H Council.

Gatto will start at NAFO on March 22.

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