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Dovetail Partners – 20th Anniversary Reflections

By Steve Bratkovich

It was a dark and stormy night….(not really….but it was dark!).

Somewhere around the year 2000, a University of Minnesota PhD candidate in the Department of Wood and Paper Science (now called the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering) and I taught an evening workshop to a group of forest industry leaders. The late autumn workshop was held in Kaufert Laboratory on the Saint Paul campus of the UMN.

When the workshop ended around 9 PM, we all headed to our cars. I was conveniently parked just outside Kaufert Lab but the graduate student was parked across campus at a remote lot. I offered, and the student readily accepted, to drive the student to his car. 

The two of us hopped into my truck and drove across the dark campus. When we arrived at his vehicle, the two of us sat in the pick-up and discussed the workshop – basically a de-briefing of the evening’s events.  Eventually the conversation turned from the workshop to an ‘idea’ the graduate student had. He talked about his belief in, and opportunity for, a Minnesota-based nonprofit focused on forestry, forest products, and other environmental issues. The graduate student was Jeff Howe and the nonprofit he envisioned became Dovetail Partners. 

This was my first ‘encounter’ with Dovetail Partners. And a few years later, with a newly minted PhD under his belt, Dr. Howe brought form to the idea he shared with me on that night a few years prior.

Since those first beginnings in 2003, Dovetail Partners has extended its reach across the U.S. and throughout the world. Many leaders in various natural resources fields consider it to be, and consistent with the mission of Dovetail, a source of accurate information about environmental topics and issues.

The novelist Nicholas Sparks said in A Walk to Remember, “…I knew the memory would last forever.”  Well, my first memory of Dovetail is forever etched in my brain.

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