David P. Tenny

Title President and CEO

Phone (202) 747-0739

Dave Tenny is the founding President and CEO of NAFO.  Under his leadership, NAFO has grown from 14 initial members in 2008 to 49 member companies that own and manage more than 46 million acres of private working forests and 34 state and national associations that represent tens of millions of additional acres.  Dave’s passion for building trust and pursuing solutions-based advocacy has helped NAFO become a leading national advocate for the economic, environmental and social benefits of America’s sustainably managed private forests.

Dave previously served as Vice President for Forestry and Wood Products for the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) and as Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the United States Department of Agriculture where he had responsibility for the U.S. Forest Service.  He got his start in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as Counsel and Natural Resources Policy Advisor for the House Committee on Agriculture and as Counsel for U.S. Representative Wally Herger of California.

A native of Boise, Idaho, he earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Kate Gatto

Title Chief Strategy Officer

Phone (202) 747-0756

Kate Gatto is NAFO’s Chief Strategy Officer. She drives the strategic direction of the organization to advance its vision, mission, goals and objectives, ensuring alignment within the organization and pursing external opportunities for engagement through partnerships, coalitions and alliances.

A member of the forestry community herself, Kate’s family owns a small working tree farm in Mississippi.  Kate knows from her own generational experience that it takes long-term vision, a significant investment, and a lot of love and patience to grow trees.

Kate joined NAFO in 2017 from Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where she spent more than 10 years leading national advocacy and reputation building campaigns for a variety of organizations, campaigns and businesses.

Kate holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Mississippi.  She also earned her Master’s Degree in Mass Communication and Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Ethan Breitling

Title Vice President for Communications and Creative

Phone (202) 747-0746

Ethan Breitling is NAFO’s Vice President for Communications and Creative. Ethan started his career running a sawmill and teaching forestry and ecology at a 100-year-old Boy Scout summer camp in the Adirondack Park.  The camp owned and operated its own working forest, which not only taught him about forest management, but also taught him the foundations of strategic communications – convincing 11-year-old boys that the Forestry Merit Badge is exciting.

Here in Washington, Ethan has made his career developing strategic fundraising communications campaigns for local, state, and federal races. Ethan previously served as NAFO’s Communications and Creative Director. He came to NAFO from Bay Armoury Consulting, where he managed multiple fundraising communications operations focused on supporting moderation in politics. Ethan earned his degree in Political Science at Western Connecticut State University and studied Foreign Policy at American University.

Deon Nelson

Title Vice President for Government Relations

Phone (202) 747-0750

Deon is NAFO’s Vice President for Government Relations, where he helps advance policies that support private working forests and the economic, social, and environmental solutions they provide.

A native of Nederland, Texas, Deon is a passionate outdoorsman who spent his formative years hunting in a working forest located in the East Texas Piney Woods. Before joining NAFO, he worked in various positions at the Department of State and The HALO Trust, where he focused on national security, countering illicit weapons trafficking, and removing bombs and landmines from post- and active-conflict zones. Deon feels fortunate to have transitioned into the forestry field, where his skills in government relations can couple with his personal passions for nature and wildlife to bring a fresh, creative perspective to NAFO’s work.

He holds a B.A. from The Citadel, an M.A. from the University of Virginia, and was a Ph.D. candidate at Catholic University before deciding to pursue a career in government affairs rather than academia. In his personal life, Deon is a devoted and unapologetic fan of the Houston Astros. When he is not watching a game, he can be found tinkering with his old jeep, working on his even older house, or out in the woods hunting.

Bryan Petit

Title Vice President for Policy and Regulatory Affairs

Bryan Petit is NAFO’s Vice President for Policy and Regulatory Affairs. With a background in both forestry and natural resources policy-making, he leads the development and execution of policy, regulatory, and legal strategies for NAFO.

Prior to coming to NAFO, Bryan spent 11 years as the Senior Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, overseeing the forestry and wildland fire portfolios.  In that position, he was instrumental in the creation and enactment of the last decade’s most important pieces of forestry-related legislation.  Before working in Congress, he served as a career staffer in the Office of the Secretary at USDA, advising policy officials on matters pertaining to natural resources and the environment.  Prior to coming to DC, Bryan worked as a field forester in various positions across 8 States, including as a wildland firefighter.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Bryan is a forester by training—having earned an undergraduate degree in forestry in North Carolina and later graduated with a Master of Forestry from Yale University.

Jonathan Tyree

Title Vice President for Operations

Phone (202) 747-0753

Jonathan Tyree is NAFO’s Vice President for Operations. He leads all aspects of NAFO’s operations, including financial stewardship, human resources, information technology, membership management, governance, internal data management, and coordination across all workstreams and competencies.

Born and raised in Indiana, Jonathan was more familiar with cornfields than forests, but has found his home in the forest sector here in Washington. He first came to NAFO in 2018 and has previously served as the Membership Manager and the Operations Director. Prior to joining NAFO, Jonathan spent three years at the Association of Consulting Foresters, where he managed all aspects of the member experience and directed their communications. An accomplished public speaker, Jonathan spent 11 years competing in speech and debate competitions around the world. He graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Politics.

JJ Manser

Title Director for Government Relations and State Outreach

Phone (202) 747-0751

J.J. Manser serves as NAFO’s Director of Government Relations and State Outreach. J.J. has a proven track record in building strong relationships with federal, state, and local stakeholders to align and achieve favorable policy outcomes for working forests. Prior to joining NAFO, he worked at CMS Energy, where he focused on advancing appropriations, biomass, renewable energy, and environmental policy. During his time at CMS, J.J. mobilized state and local community action agencies to advocate for increased federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

J.J. was born and raised in Michigan, and like all Michiganders, J.J. would be happy to show you where he’s from if you hold up your hand.

J.J. speaks Arabic and has worked and studied in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He holds a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Grand Valley State University.

Jacqueline Murello

Title Director for Communications

As the Director for Communications, Jacqueline supports NAFO’s work through the development and implementation of advocacy messaging and communications strategy. Ever focused on crafting campaigns that are engaging, relevant, and actionable, Jacqueline draws from a range of creative experience and tactical competencies, including storytelling, user experience (UX) design, and omnichannel audience engagement. Prior to joining NAFO, Jacqueline led communications initiatives in the tech industry, refugee advocacy, women’s leadership, and anti-human trafficking.

Jacqueline is proud to carry on her family’s forest stewardship legacy established by her late grandfather, who dedicated his career to caring for private working forests and producing sustainable forestry products on the West Coast.

Jacqueline earned a bachelor’s degree in International Development from UCLA and holds a certification in UX Design.

James Willson

Title Director for Policy

As Director for Policy, James Willson helps plan and implement NAFO’s legal, regulatory, and federal policy strategies.

Before joining NAFO, James worked at the United States Senate for seven years. He began his Capitol Hill career at the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works before transitioning to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Serving in the role of Counsel for both Committees, James was the policy lead on forestry, recreation, transportation infrastructure, and environmental issues. He was a key player in the creation and advancement of bipartisan legislation in each issue area.

James was born and raised in Cody, Wyoming—a gateway community located just east of Yellowstone National Park. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in political science and later earned his law degree from the University of Wyoming College of Law.

Casey Ryan

Title Membership and Operations Manager

Casey serves as NAFO’s Membership and Operations Manager, helping to run the day-to-day operations at NAFO. She works closely with the Vice President for Operations to support NAFO’s Policy, Government Relations, and Communications team’s advocacy work. Casey also manages logistics and internal communications supporting NAFO’s Board of Directors and wider membership committees and task groups.

Casey is passionate about wildlife and has studied bush elephants in Tanzania, mud turtles in Belize, and habitat management in New York state. Before joining the NAFO team, Casey served as a New York City Urban Park Ranger where she helped provide logistical support, promoted environmental stewardship, and ran various programs pertaining to wildlife, forest health, and land use throughout the city’s 1,700 parks and green spaces.

Casey earned a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University at Buffalo and a Master of Environmental Policy from Arizona State University.