“Sewanee gave me opportunities to seek out funded internships to develop more technical forestry skills. The career and leadership development at Sewanee is just phenomenal.”

Timber, Ethics, & Underwriting Loans

Andrew Carey, C'13
MetLife Agricultural Finance
Major: Natural Resources


Andrew Carey, C’13, has worked in the forest management and timberland investment space since graduating from Sewanee. Oddly enough, he now finds himself working for an insurance company. So, why might insurance companies be hiring foresters?

The investment divisions of insurance companies manage investment portfolios, typically a small portion of which includes things like infrastructure, agriculture, and timber. As one of only five foresters handling a $2.5 billion portfolio of timberland mortgages, Andrew manages relationships with existing borrowers and originates new timberland loans across North and South America.

“We assess timberland to determine how much can be sustainably harvested,” Andrew says. “Much like a loan officer would assess an individual’s income before making a home loan, it’s my job to determine an amount that will allow sustainable timber harvests to cover all principal and interest payments. It would be difficult to do this without a sound understanding of industrial timberland management.”

“To some, cutting down trees is not pretty,” Andrew admits, “and it can take a fair amount of explanation to demonstrate that industrial timberland management is sustainable. We all use forest products daily. Why not source from a forest that’s well-managed for generations to come?”

During Andrew’s senior year, he took a land ethics class that conveyed the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to environmental management.

“You can’t just look at one component,” Andrew explains. “It’s critical to assess all of these issues at the field level as well as from 30,000 feet. That is the only way to fully understand or capture something that is biotic in nature—something that’s truly living. Sewanee instilled the importance of being able to oscillate between the specific and the trend.”