State Forester and Deputy State Forester

Gene Kodama

Henry E. “Gene” Kodama - State Forester

Henry Eugene (Gene) Kodama became State Forester on January 1, 2008. As the agency head, he will work with a nine-member board appointed by the Governor to set agency policy and direction. He represents the Forestry Commission and forestry interests at the state government level as well as regionally and nationally.

A career forester, Gene Kodama came to the Forestry Commission with over three decades of professional experience in the forest products industry. He was Commercial Ventures Manager, Southern Regional Manager, Southern Woodlands Manager, Operations Manager, Area Superintendent, and District Forester with MeadWestvaco Corporation.  He also served as CEO of Forest Technology Group and most recently as a member and partner with Principle Enterprises and Advance Investments. 

Gene has undergraduate and graduate degrees in forestry from Clemson University. A South Carolina native he is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist and an active member of several organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. He is a hunter education instructor for the SC Department of Natural Resources. Gene has been an active member of the Summerville community, having served in leadership positions with area chambers of commerce and The United Methodist Church.  He has served on Clemson University’s Board of Visitors and the Departments of Forestry and Extension Advisory Boards. In 2002 he served as chair of the SC Forestry Association.

Tom Patton - Deputy State Forester

Tom PattonTom Patton became the Deputy State Forester for South Carolina on January 2, 2013 and is responsible for all regional operations, forest management and forest protection programs.  A graduate of NC State University with a BS in Forestry and MS in Economics, Tom has more than 28 years of experience in both the public and private sectors.  He began his career in forest industry providing management assistance to landowners.

Tom’s SC Forestry Commission career began in 2000 and since that time he has served in a number capacities including:  Area Forester, State Lands Liaison, Best Management Practices (BMP) Forester, and for six years prior to becoming Deputy State Forester, he was the agency’s Piedmont Regional Forester.

Tom is a SC Registered Forester, a Society of American Foresters’ Certified Forester, and a SC Certified Public Manager.  He is an active member in, and has held leadership positions, in the Society of American Foresters, the SC Forestry Association, the Lexington County Forestry Association, and the American Tree Farm System.  He’s a recipient of both the South Carolina and Southern Regional Tree Farm Inspector awards.

Tom is a third generation forester, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father.  He’s married, has two daughters and lives in Irmo, SC.



Contact them at: (803)896-8800 or (803)896-8861, by email, or fax at (803)798-8097.




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