William (Bill) Banzhaf (B.S.F. '67), was inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame on October 11, 2023. Bill, who has served on the SEAS External Advisory Board since 2007, has worked in the field of forestry since graduating from SEAS in 1967.
After graduation, Bill joined his father, George Banzhaf's, forest resource consulting firm, George Banzhaf and Company. George, who received his forestry degree from the U-M Forestry Department in 1922, was also inducted into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame in 1986. He was considered a trailblazer for today's sustainable forestry practices, and the firm was primarily focused on national and regional studies on forest policy, timberland appraisal for corporate mergers and acquisitions, forest management studies on Tribal lands, and feasibility studies for the sustainable wood supply of pulp and paper facilities in the United States.
After his father passed away in 1987, Bill moved to Washington, D.C. where he was selected to be the CEO of the Society of American Foresters (SAF). As the professional society for forestry, SAF worked with the conservation and environmental communities on forest ecosystem health and provided testimony to the United States Congress on all forestry issues. In addition, this organization published five peer-reviewed journals, was responsible for the accreditation of forestry schools and universities throughout the United States, and provided continuing education for over 19,000 members.
In 2002, he left the organization after being selected as the founding President of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). SFI is an independent, nonprofit organization that ensures sustainable forest management through forest certification. SFI is the largest forest certification organization in North America having certified over 350,000,000 acres in the United States and Canada as sustainably managed forest land.
In 2007, Bill retired to the cabin built by his father in 1927 on Indian Lake north of Manistique, Michigan.
At every stage of his career, Bill led organizations that directly affected Wisconsin foresters, forest products companies, public agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations throughout the United States and Canada. As a consultant, representative of the forestry profession, and a leader of the forest certification movement, he has exhibited and promoted respect, ethics, integrity, leadership, and professionalism within forestry and conservation.