Lois graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry in 1976. In 1977, to gain experience in timber, she applied for a job with W.M. Beaty & Associates marking salvage after the massive Scarface Fire in remote Modoc County. She moved to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (now CalFire) and spent 15 years as a Forest Practice Inspector in the Redwood Region before going to the Sierra Cascade Region. During her time at CalFire, Kaufman was well respected for her skills in supervision and mentorship. She held many titles, including Public Officer, Incident Management Team Finance Chief, and Public Information Officer, ending her CalFire career in 2007 as the Deputy Chief of Resource Management overseeing the Forest Practice Program for the Shasta Trinity Unit and Latour Demonstration State Forest where she was once a seasonal aide. Retirement, however, was short lived; Kaufman continued her tireless work in forestry becoming the Executive Director of the California Tree Farm Program of the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). She and her husband are tree farmers themselves and it was a natural fit to give back to the landowners and the profession of forestry that gave her so much. She has since helped develop numerous important contributions to the community including public education videos and a new landowner assistance program. She also visits legislators to advocate for forest landowners in California. Lois joined the WSRCD Board in 2019.