The founders of Forest Genetics Ltd (FG), Drs Mike and Sue Carson, have spent a substantial part of their careers as tree breeding scientists and are well respected by their peers, both internationally and locally.
Mike and Sue are lead or co-author on nearly 250 scientific papers and have presented at numerous conferences around the world.
Mike graduated from University of Canterbury with a BSc (Hon, 1st Class), followed by, in 1982, a PhD in Forest Genetics at North Carolina State University, USA. Sue graduated with a BSc (with Distinction) and MSc from University of Michigan, followed in 1984 by a PhD with majors in Forest Genetics and Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University.
On their return to New Zealand in 1982, both Mike and Sue held scientific positions with the New Zealand Forestry Research Institute (FRI). Sue worked at the FRI until 1998 in a variety of research and development positions including as a specialist in modelling genetic gain and as a Project Manager for Molecular Breeding, and then for Fletcher Challenge Forests for three years as a specialist in DNA marker applications.
Mike held a number of senior management positions at the FRI overseeing genetic and tree improvement research and the biotechnology division. He became involved with managing the New Zealand Radiata Pine Breeding Cooperative RPBC) in 1989, first from within the FRI, then from 1999 to 2005 as an independent contractor. In this role Mike facilitated the transformation of the RPBC from a co-operative to a limited liability company, and then to a Foundation for Research Science and Technology consortium. Mike has been a director of the RPBC since 2005.
From 1998 to 2005 Mike was also the General Manager for the South East Asian division of CellFor Inc, marking the beginning of a long-term relationship that has continued until today. The field trial plantings of superior varieties which were developed during this time have provided the foundation upon which FG's Production Varieties have been built.
Since 1999 Mike and Sue, through their 100% owned company Carson Associates Ltd, have been operating as consultants to the forestry industry. Their extensive research and practical experience in the forestry sector, and their association with CellFor Inc provided the opportunity for the establishment of Forest Genetics Ltd in 2002. In 2008 FG took on two additional partners, which has contributed substantially to strengthening the business.