Interview with Lee Miezis


Lee Miezis

Case Study

Name: Lee Miezis
Director, Management and Operations, Forest and Parks Division
Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment

  • Bachelor of Forest Science (Honours)

  • Masters of Business Administration (Distinction)

Age: 35

What does your position entail? 
The Director of Management and Operations is a role that works across Victoria’s almost 8 million hectares of public native forests. My job includes policy development; commissioning research and collecting and analysing data to support sustainable forest management; developing and enforcing environmental regulations, laws and prescriptions; purchasing land for addition to the conservation reserve system and making forest products such as firewood available to the community. It’s a broad role, one that encompasses policy right through to onground program delivery. I have a team of about 50 people that work with me, including foresters, researchers and lawyers. A broad range of skills come together to ensure that how we develop and implement policy for the management of Victoria’s forests and parks leads best practice.
How did you start out in the industry? 
I spent most of my life in and around forest industries. After I graduated from University, I started my professional career measuring trees on the mid-north coast of NSW as part of the Regional Forest Agreement process that was underway at the time – a job that required skills with a brush hook to get through the lantana to find the measurement plots! After that I held a number of positions in regional NSW and in Sydney, working on timber marketing, indigenous issues, biodiversity, fire management; environmental standards, recreation, before moving home to Victoria in 2005.

Is creating a sustainable environment import to you?
I enjoy talking to people about my role in sustainable forest management - about balancing multiple values - biodiversity, water, recreation, carbon and timber to meet the needs of the public. Achieving a balance necessarily means that tradeoffs are made and it is important that in doing so, we deliver public value.
As a forester, I believe that we need take the time to explain the life cycle of a sustainably managed forest – regenerating, nurturing and harvesting to produce high value wood products.    That said, actions speak louder than words and our forest management practices needs to continue to be amongst the best of the world – that includes the conservation of important natural assets.
Many people often don’t associate the timber products that they have in their home homes with sustainable harvesting of forests and are not always aware of the advantages of timber as a construction material – for houses, furniture and other products – compared to some of the alternatives.  
Please note: We spoke to Lee about his career and what he does day to day. We hope you find this useful and interesting – but please remember, that all jobs are not exactly the same and other roles with the same title may be different in many respects. You should confirm all the details of a particular job with the organisation offering it.