Eastern Forest Consultants



About EFC

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Joe Secoges (C.F.)


Joe earned a B.S. in Forest Resource Management (with a minor in Watershed Management) in 2005 and a M.S. in Forestry and Forest Products in 2009 from Virginia Tech.  Upon completion of his M.S., Joe established Ellett Valley Forest Management LLC (now Eastern Forest Consultants LLC) to pursue interests in forest consulting.  Joe is a Certified Forester®, NC Registered Forester, certified inspector in The American Tree Farm System®, NRCS Technical Service Provider (TSP), certified pesticide applicator, and a member of the Association of Consulting Foresters, Society of American Foresters, Virginia Forestry Association, North Carolina Forestry Association, Pennsylvania Forestry Association, and Ducks Unlimited.  He enjoys playing baseball and softball and is an outdoor enthusiast spending much of his free time hunting and fishing.



Ben Balke


Ben completed his B.S. of Natural Resource Management (concentration) in Forest Resources at Western Carolina University in 2015. He assisted the Colorado State Forest Service on timber sales and rolling timber inventories prior to joining Eastern Forest Consultants full-time in the spring of 2016. Ben is a certified Virginia pesticide applicator and tree farm inspector in The American Tree Farm System®. Ben spends as much time as possible outdoors.  His hobbies include mountain biking, rock climbing, boating, hiking, backpacking and fishing.



John Smith


John earned his B.S. in Forestry from the University of Missouri (Columbia) in 2017.  After working for the Department of Natural Resources in his home state of Missouri, John decided to start a career with Eastern Forest Consultants.  Since joining the company in June of 2018, John has acquired an herbicide applicators certificate for the state of Virginia and become a tree farm inspector in The American Tree Farm System®.  He is studying to become a Certified Forester.  John spends much of his free time hiking, biking, and working on his personal insect collection of more than 300 pinned specimens.



Caleb Cothron


Originally from Monroe, North Carolina, Caleb graduated with a B.S. in Forest Management from NC State University in 2019. He started his career in 2020 with Eastern Forest Consultants and is a certified tree farm inspector in The American Tree Farm System®.  Caleb spends much of his time outdoors hiking, climbing, and paddling.



Luke Whiteside

(Forest Technician)

Luke completed his B.S. from Appalachian State University in 2016.  Since then, he has worked in conservation stewardship, in restoration nurseries and on wildland fire crews.  After a stint with North Carolina State Parks, Luke joined EFC in the fall of 2019.  His hobbies include hiking, painting, and watching University of Tennessee Volunteers football.