David J. Gustafson (Outstanding Recent Alumnus)

B.S. Forest Science, 2000

David J. Gustafson graduated with a B.S. in Forest Science in 2000;  the first of his four undergraduate years was spent at Penn State Mont Alto. 

He began his career as a forester with Weaber, Inc. in Lebanon, PA, where he worked until September 2001.  In August 2002 he was hired as a forester with the PA DCNR Forest Inventory and Analysis Section, and then in August 2003 he became a forester with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) in the Northwest Region.  In August 2005 he was promoted to forest program specialist and helped start the commission’s Forest Inventory and Analysis Section.  Quite a few Penn State students worked on his inventory crews out of the PGC Howard Nursery.  In August 2007 Gustafson was promoted to chief forester of the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

As chief forester, Gustafson directs the statewide forest habitat silviculture program, the operations of the Howard Nursery and its associated programs, and the Forest Inventory and Analysis Section.  He is responsible for the wildlife habitat management programs on the forested portions of State Game Lands, which is approximately 91% of the commission’s 1.4 million acres.

Gustafson joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1996.  He was deployed for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, August - November 2005.  In January 2006 he was appointed to the officer rank of Second Lieutenant by Direct Commission.  He served at the rank of First Lieutenant and Company Executive Officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq from September 2008 until October 2009 with Alpha Company 1st Battalion 112th Infantry, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team.  He has received numerous military honors including the Army Commendation Medal (twice), the Army Achievement Medal (twice), Humanitarian Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Medal (three times), the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Lt Gen. Milton G. Baker Outstanding Leadership Award.

Gustafson is a member of numerous organizations including the Society of American Foresters, the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, and Tau Phi Delta fraternity for which he currently serves as vice president of the Grand National Chapter.  He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys turkey hunting, bear hunting, archery hunting for whitetails, and fly fishing. 

Gustafson and his wife Christine currently live near Loysville in Perry County, Pennsylvania.