George grew up in the midwest, working on his grandparents’ Christmas Tree Farm. He has a graduate degree in religious studies, has worked as a wilderness guide, and for ten years taught Perspectives on Nature in a backcountry-based environmental studies program with the Sierra Institute at the University of California Santa Cruz. He moved to the area in 1992 and opened a small wood shop utilizing primarily locally-produced wood. Today, he and his wife own some 600 acres of forest and his custom milling operation, Mountain Millworks, works with forest owners and others interested in using local wood. McKinley was 2008 Jackson County Tree Farmer of the Year in recognition of the long-term stewardship of his forest and leadership in efforts to promote small diameter utilization. George believes that the strength of collaboration derives from the commitment of individuals with different perspectives to work together in achieving a shared set of goals.