With more than 40 years of experience in forestland management and academia, Mike Clutter heads the portfolio analytics function at Forest Investment Associates (FIA) which includes a focus on the use of technology and research to drive investor returns. Mike arrived at FIA in 2015, and he serves on FIA’s Executive and Investment Committees. Mike’s current responsibilities include developing and implementing portfolio analytics across FIA’s separate accounts and funds. Additionally, he is responsible for managing information technology at FIA. Mike is a frequent speaker at timberland investment conferences and remains active as a contributor to the academic forestry literature and has published on forest growth and yield, and timberland investment attributes and returns.
Before returning to the private sector with FIA, Mike was the Hargreaves Professor of Forest Finance at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. During his time at UGA, Mike developed and delivered graduate courses in forest finance in the Warnell School and undergraduate and MBA corporate finance courses in the Terry College of Business. During his tenure at the University of Georgia he served as Dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources for 8 years.
Previously, Mike spent over 20 years in the forest products industry working with Union Camp Corporation, Georgia-Pacific, and The Timber Company where he was the Director of Decision Support and Information Resources. His primary research interests include the use of financial analysis techniques in the timber and timberland industry, changes in timberland ownership and the factors that impact those changes, and the use of forest information technology in asset planning and valuation.
What is your business philosophy?
I spent fifteen years teaching a basic valuation class to MBA students at the University of Georgia. During that time, one book I used as required reading was “The essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America”. There are literally thousands of quotes that have been pulled from this book and other writings by the “Oracle of Omaha”. Much of the material I continue to reread as it applies every bit as much today as when he originally put pen to paper. He taught me the concept of value investing and how to think about investing.
Why did you choose this field / career path?
I had the great fortune to “grow up” around forestry – my Dad was a forester and a biometrician. Forestry is a field with many multigenerational families in it. It’s a field where deals are made with a handshake and genuine respect still exists within the profession.
What is one of the best lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Hold tight to your vision and beliefs – there is nothing worse than those who waiver with the political winds of the moment.