A 28-year veteran of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry, Arnold will assume the role Aug. 1.
“David has devoted his career to managing and protecting Tennessee’s forests,” Haslam said. “There is no question his professional experience and personal dedication to service make him highly qualified to fill his new role, and I’m pleased to make this appointment.”
The state forester and assistant commissioner is responsible for the administration of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry. The division manages more than 168,000 acres of state-owned forests, oversees wildfire prevention and suppression, reforestation, landowner assistance programs, forest health initiatives, urban forestry programs and forest inventory.
“David has served in a variety of roles and taken on a wide range of responsibilities during his tenure with the department,” Templeton said. “No matter the job or task, David has been steadfast in his leadership, adaptability, humility and commitment to the citizens of Tennessee. I am certain he will build upon that strong foundation of service as he leads the division of forestry.”
Arnold most recently worked as assistant state forester and oversaw as much as $4 million in federal grants annually, which contributed to the development of the division’s short- and long-term strategic and tactical plans and supported budgeting, planning and hiring within the division. He also supervised the administration of the division’s forest health and sustainability unit, as well as the reforestation unit. Previously he served as forest management chief, forest inventory and analysis coordinator, forest products marketing coordinator and area forester for Union County.
Arnold will replace Jere Jeter, who retired in June after nearly six years in the position.
“I am honored and humbled to serve as Tennessee's next state forester,” Arnold said. “The forestry personnel have a passion to pursue the division's mission. It is very exciting to be given the opportunity to work with them in a new capacity and provide the leadership to continue the division’s legacy of protecting, conserving and enhancing Tennessee's forest resources.”
Arnold earned a bachelor’s degree in forest management from Auburn University and a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Tennessee.
He lives in Lebanon with his wife, Cindy, and they have two daughters, Holly and Heather. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, camping and walking along creek banks to view wildlife.