wilderness photo

MLA Staff

Logging is in our bones and blood

Keith Olson, Executive Director

Keith Olson has served as the Executive Director of the Montana Logging Association since 1980. He received a degree in Forest Management from Oregon State University in 1969. Keith's career path, prior to taking over the reins of the MLA, includes five years as a corporate forester in Oregon and seven years as a consulting forester in Idaho. Forestry is in his bones.

When asked about his job interview for MLA Executive Director all those many years ago, Olson remembers it (perhaps hazily) this way: "Three nefarious loggers sat me down in a bar in Thompson Falls, and through the skillful manipulation of fast talk and cold beer they convinced me to become the Executive Director of the MLA."

Memberships, Affiliations, Awards

406-752-3168 ext 14

John Hansen, Senior Safety Management Consultant

John Hansen is a graduate Forester from the University of Montana. During and following college, John worked for state and federal agencies in the field of timber and fire management. He was a staff forester for Champion Timberlands, Libby, Montana until 1989. John began working for the Montana Logging Association as Field Safety Representative in 1989. He is actively involved in all aspects of logging safety and forest issues and is also a licensed insurance agent. John serves on the ALERT Board of Trustees.


Bryan Lorengo, Safety Management Consultant

Bryan Lorengo joined the staff of the MLA in January of 2012 as a Field Safety Representative. Prior to teaming up with the MLA, Bryan received his Elementary Education degree from the University of Montana - Western in 2000 and began working for Lorengo Logging and for the Montana DNRC as a wildland firefighter and Fire Team Leader. He spent several years working as the Wildland Fire Instructor for the MLA during spring breakup. Most recently, he spent two years working for the Anaconda Job Corps as a safety officer but found that his passion lie in the logging industry. Bryan lives in Anaconda with his wife, Kim, and their three children: Logan, Carter and Kendyl.


Coleen Michael, Executive Assistant

Coleen Michael was born in Denver Colorado and moved to Montana with her family in 1975. She graduated from Flathead High School and then Flathead Valley Community College with an Associates Degree in Business Management. She worked for several years in the restaurant and hotel business in Kalispell. Coleen started a new career with the MLA in December of 2000. Coleen is responsible for the agency side of the workers compensation programs with both the Montana State Fund and the Associated Loggers Exchange. She also handles coordination of MLA meetings and general bookkeeping functions. Coleen lives in Kalispell with her husband Dave and their two boys.


Erica Potts, Member Services Representative

Erica grew up in Missoula and as a teen moved to Miles City. There she graduated high school and attended Miles Community College studying small business management. She moved to the Flathead Valley in 1993 where she put her sales and marketing skills to work for approximately 17 years until a career change brought her into the insurance industry.

Erica's responsibilities at the MLA include marketing and servicing the variety of group and individual health insurance plans as well as keeping MLA's membership up to date on all aspects of their health insurance needs.  She has recently joined NAFIA - the local chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Erica and her husband Chad live in the Bigfork area.


Mindi Thomas, Membership Coordinator

Mindi was born and raised in Kalispell on the same land where her dad and grandfather were raised. She was born into a logging family and is very passionate about the logging industry. It's in her blood.

Mindi graduated from Flathead High School in 1998 and then worked in the Title & Escrow industry for six years before coming to work for the MLA in 2005. Her duties include answering phones, membership billing, safety supplies, first aid/forestry class input and billing, and setting up the monthly newsletter. Fortunately for us, she's widely skilled. She and her husband Terrell and son live just outside Kalispell.