First Interview Session (April 22, 2008)
Narrator: John Youngquist
Interviewer: Lauren Benditt
Date: 22 April 2008 (Thursday)
Location: Forest Products Laboratory
Subject: Forest Products Laboratory
Transcriptionist: Lauren Benditt (4/29/08)
Auditor: Ellen Jacks (12/10/08)
00:00:00 - 00:04:20 Introduction
Introduction, background, education, University of Wisconsin; employment history, Rayovac, patents; father former FPL employee, Youngquist, Wally; World War, 1939-1945, assistant to the director
So, today is Tuesday, April 22, and this is Lauren Benditt, and I will be interviewing John Youngquist about his experiences at the Forest Products Lab. And I guess to start us off, maybe, if you could give us a little bit about your background---what your education was, what led you to come to the lab in the first place?
Ok. Um, well, I am a chemical engineer, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1962. Then went to law school here, and went, attended for two years and then the Vietnam War, I could no longer get a deferment, so I went into the service, and I never did go back into law. My interest originally was getting into patent law, because I had obtained five or six patents while working part time at the Rayovac Company, at Madison. So, when I got out of the service, I went back to the Rayovac Company, and worked there until 1975. So that would be from about 1967 to 1975, and I was a research lab manager there, and then got into more processing type of work where you take a material and a machine and produce a product, and that's the similarity between what I did at the Forest Products Lab and what I did there. So, I ended up starting to travel a lot with the Rayovac Company, and I---that was getting old fast, I mean I would be gone, well, a month or two at a time. And so, I decided to look for a job somewhere, at least in Wisconsin. My father had worked here at the Forest Products Lab; he started in, oh gosh, 1942 or 3 and retired in 1974, so, of course, I was very familiar with the organization, and interviewed here and was hired. And I started as a project leader in, well, composite products, and worked in that capacity until I retired in, well I retired in 1999, then was hired back for two years, part time, or half-time, so 2001 when I finally left the Lab. And now I have a consulting business in natural resources and engineering.
Great! I guess, so, who was your father then?
Wally Youngquist. W. G. Youngquist. And he was a civil engineer, you know the Laboratory during the War, World War II years, was very much on a war footing in terms of doing research that was directly applicable to all kinds of different military projects. And he was involved in that. And then he was the assistant to the Director at the end, for the last, I don't know, four or five years.
00:04:20 - 00:07:12 Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineering, father's colleagues, impressions
I guess, while you were engaged in your education did you have any particular desire to end up here?
Or had you thought about working here at all?
No, no, I really hadn't. I started out school in, as a mechanical engineer, and then had a real interest in chemistry and mathematics and so forth, so I switched to chemical engineering. And it never really occurred to me that they hired chemical engineers here. I was thinking more, you know, what the professions were, were wood technologists and people who specialize in wood technology. So, no, I didn't have that as any kind of a goal at all. But it's been a wonderful place to work, that's for sure. It was a great career.
And, so, you of course had heard about the Lab before starting here.
Oh sure, yeah, I knew a lot of contemporaries of my father. And I didn't know so much about what was going on, you know, in the last, well, from 1970 to '75 before I started. So, I did know a lot about it, and I knew a lot of people here.
And did you have any particular impressions of the Lab? Or did you just sort of know about it and know what was going on? Or did you think of it as a particularly?
I thought about it growing up as a, not a particularly challenging or interesting career. I thought, you know, being in business and in the private sector would be much more exciting, and much more rewarding. But, in the end it turned out to be the---both careers were very similar in the kind of problems you run into and the kind of encounters and experiences. So, it was, it was, I was proven to be wrong in my original thinking.
Right. So, you started here in 1975?
00:07:12 - 00:13:32 First Day, Research Freedom
First day, research freedom; industry involvement, more collaboration, late-1980s, recycling;
And do you have any particular memories of your first day, I guess what it was like just coming from industry?
Well, it was very different, much, much different. Here at the Forest Products Lab there was a lot more freedom to focus your work on things that---I mean it was a great job in that you could plan research programs, review them with your superior, in this case would be an assistant director, and then, if that was approved, go with it. And, of course, private sector work is all profit driven, and so you had very little choice in directing the course of the research programs or efforts. So, it was a big difference that way. Of course, with the government, there's all kinds of bureaucracy that occurs, even more so than in industry. That took a little getting used to. But, generally, from a work standpoint the career, the efforts were similar.
And, I might be getting ahead of myself, so, you said that you had a lot more freedom to direct your own research. Did you still find that there were projects that were industry directed?
Yes, we had industry involvement in that there would be a group of wood products industry people who would come here and we would report to them, or tell them what kind of work we were doing. And then they would comment on the programs and say, and generally try to influence the directions we were taking to be most applicable to industry.
[Knock on the door and another person enters looking for someone]
He's not here. Ok, so, let's see what was the question?
Oh, yes. Initially, there were, we had very little involvement in doing research programs or research projects with, in cooperation with a company or group of companies. It was very, very limited that way. And as we moved into the '80s and '90s there was much more of an emphasis on working cooperatively with industry people, in one way or another. For example, in the late '80s when, you know, recycling of materials became much more of an emphasis throughout the country, we got into that kind of work and how to recycle wood, and what can we do with materials that are going into the landfill. That we could combine or use, use recycled wood, what can we use that for? What kind of, if there are a lot of thermoplastics going into landfills and so forth, are there, were there opportunities to combine the plastics with the wood to make products. And so that, those kind of general societal trends had a, had a big effect in developing or guiding our research programs.
00:13:32 - 00:14:49 Forest Service, Industry Collaboration
Forest Service, industry collaboration; technology transfer act, public domain, single companies; beneficial change, patent law
And do you know what changed to make the Forest Products Lab start working more cooperatively with industry? Or was there some impetus for that?
Well, when you talk about working more cooperatively, if---in the early days, if we had a sort of a group of industry people from say, the big companies that were interested in doing a project, we would work with them. But we wouldn't work with one company, initially. And the, the change came about gradually, but there was I think a, some kind of technology transfer act or something that was passed that allowed us to do that, work with private companies, to accept money for the projects, and to keep the findings confidential between the company and the Forest Products Lab. Before that, if you did work with a company all of the work you did was, had to be in the public domain. And that discouraged a lot of one-on one research, because people aren't going to spend their money to develop something and-then have their competitor, you know, pick up on it. So, over the years, it became much more of an emphasis. And as budgets became tighter, there was more and more of an emphasis on grants and working with companies, bringing in funding for your programs that way.
Do you think that has changed the mission of the Forest Products Lab at all? Or, I mean other than being able to work more cooperatively with single companies.
No, I don't think it has. I think it's been a benefit, definitely. And another part of this change was the fact that you could get, you could patent things in cooperation with industry, with companies, and you could obtain a patent. Or people could apply for a patent if they discovered something. They could apply for a patent in the name of the US government, but there was some incentives that went back to the inventors. So there was a lot more of that kind of thing as we moved through the years.
So were you then able to bring your interest in patent law into your job here at all?
No, not really. I, I obtained several patents while I was here in coop---not solely but with other people working here and so forth, but not really, no.
00:14:49 - 00:18:44 Typical Day
Typical day; research programs, directing; management responsibilities, Rayovac; personnel management, FPL, hiring practices;
Well, maybe moving backward then a little bit, can you describe a typical day in the lab? Or did you have a typical day?
Oh, well that, that's an interesting subject. We, every day that I came to work there was no routine to it. It was always something new, something different, and that's one thing I liked about it. It never became boring at all. There was always new things, new activities going on. And so, a typical day, you know, you'd start at, oh, I don't know seven thirty or a quarter to eight and work until five or so. And my job was more directing research programs, so I wasn't, I didn't spend a lot of time in the laboratories on a daily basis. I would try to get, have people working for me stay on target and direct the research and make sure that we were accomplishing something.
And, I guess, while you were at Rayovac, were you directly involved with the research there or were you sort of a project manager there too?
Well, I started out being directly involved and then became more and more involved with directing research programs and then became more and more involved with introducing new products into manufacturing plants. And then, finally, getting involved in managing plants, of three, four hundred people, and that's when I quit. That I didn't like. So, but here, the staff that I managed, I guess the project had maybe; it would expand and shrink and so forth, depending on budgets, depending on who was hired. There were different ways to hire people---hire students, or co-op students, or temporary employees, or term employees, or full-time employees. And so I managed anywhere from about thirty-five to fifteen at the, the staff would go up and down. Those are, and we had some people like yourself, interested in getting Ph.D.s, who would be working with us. And we would be working in cooperation with their major professor at the University. So, it was, it was a lot different than working in private industry from that standpoint. The other difference was from a personnel standpoint, you had much less control over employees, very, very much more freedoms they had. And, you know, if somebody wasn't showing up for work and so forth, you had to go through an awful lot of procedural operations to try to get them to improve, or you know, disciplinary things were very difficult.
00:18:44 - 00:26:08 Specific Projects
Specific projects, composite wood products, laminate veneer lumber, parallel strand lumber; prior research, Southern Pine, Douglass Fir, Hemm Fir, Spruce; renewable resources, recycling
So, I guess, while you were here then, what sorts of projects did you direct or work on?
Well, we, I started when there were several people, in the early '70s, who had started working on laminated veneer lumber. I worked in, first let's back up and say that I was, worked in composite wood products. And that is any wood that is taken apart to smaller elements and reassembled as, ends up being more, all kinds of panel products, particle boards, plywoods, wafer boards, oriented strand boards. So, when I started, there was an effort to make beams out of veneer. And these are, they were using very thick veneer. Whereas a standard veneer thickness may be a tenth of an inch and they were making products a quarter of an inch pieces of veneer that were glued together to give you a beam or a shape that would have some engineering advantage. And we worked in that area, and developed a tremendous database, which fostered, helped to foster a whole new industry, which is now these beams and products, laminated veneer lumber or parallel strand lumber, that kind of thing. They're all commonplace, used throughout the US, well, throughout the world, for housing, for supporting beams and timbers and that sort of thing. And all of this, what made the job interesting is that all of this, these products could have been made, the beam type products, could have been made from solid lumber, but the, the availability of trees that didn't have any defects in them, and that had long straight pieces became increasingly difficult to obtain. So there was, that was the incentive to use smaller pieces and reassemble them to get the same or better properties. And so we worked on the veneer and the plywood, the structural products, oh maybe through the mid-'80s.
And prior to all of this the Forest Products Lab was very involved in plywood research back in the '30s. And they really, back then, and in the '40s helped to establish the Southern Pine plywood industry. Before that all these products were made in the, from West Coast species, Douglas Fir and Hem Fir, and spruce and so forth. And so, using pine was unheard of, and they developed this whole industry, developed the codes and the standards and the performance criteria. And so this was a natural, the work that we were doing, was an extension of, of that kind of specialty products.
And then we, we were involved, well when you put, when you make a composite product, you need the wood material in different shapes and forms and so forth, but you also need adhesives to glue them together. And those adhesives, generally, are either from natural, a natural adhesive like soybean extracts and so forth, or an oil based product. Well there was always, and there still is a big emphasis on trying to develop adhesives from natural occurring, and some renewable resources. And, so we did a lot of work in that area too, with different materials. And then we, we also did quite a bit of work with using other biomass type products, cornstalks, rice hulls, all kinds of things, to make composite products. And that work is still going on, although it has never taken off quite like using wood itself, because these other products are harder to glue together, and the performance is somewhat limited. And then we looked at grasses, Switchgrass and Knaff, which is a plant that grows very rapidly. So we were working with materials that were very fast-grown, and that could then be assembled into some structural product similar to what you could do with wood. So that kind of thing we worked on quite a bit.
And then, as I mentioned, in the late '80s started at this recycling business, made products from, using old newspapers to make fiberboards and hardboards and so forth, as a way to extend the, the resource, really. And then we got into a major development with wood and plastic materials blended together, like, like the common decking materials you can buy now. And so, we did a lot of work in that area. And that's, that can get as complicated as you want because the wood is a hydrophobic material and the plastics are what you call hydrophilic, one loves water and one doesn't. So, getting them to bond together to make something that has a permanent strength that you can rely on was, is always the challenge, and it still is today. The industry has taken off substantially with those kind of products now.
00:26:08 - 00:31:38 Projects
Projects, challenging, measuring progress, writing, public speaking; organizations, Forest Products Society, International Union of Forest Research Organizations
Great. Were any of those projects particularly challenging? Or was there a day that you had here that was particularly challenging?
Oh, well, I would have to say that the, in contrast, contrasting an industry job to the kind of work you do here, it's hard to measure your progress from day to day. I mean, you don't go home at night and say you made so many widgets. You go home at night and you're not sure what you've accomplished because these research projects are four, six months, nine months, a year long. And so, you ask me about challenging, it's hard to measure progress, and hard to measure what you've accomplished in a short period of time. So, that was, I mean that's a general answer but I don't remember---the most frustrating things that I remember were the personnel problems and the discipline and that sort of thing; they were not easy.
And could you contrast that with challenges you had while you were in industry?
They were much more difficult; those kinds of problems were much more difficult to deal with here.
Yeah, right. Now, my career here, I know when I started I was not particularly---the engineering, my engineering education forces you to think in logical ways, and to, but recording and writing your things down, and writing reports and research papers at first was very difficult. And it is for a lot of scientific people, but that became much easier, much more almost second nature. Public speaking was another thing that, here was, at the Forest Products Lab, there was a lot more opportunity for making presentations to different groups, you know, trade associations or professional societies, and that was, that was a big contrast. So, in my career here I was very fortunate in being able to work with some other organizations like the Forest Products Society. That's a society of professional people, either research or academic people, and industry people that are, it's a private organization. And I got involved in that at the local level and then moved up to the Vice President, President, and on the Board of Directors. So that was a wonderful opportunity for me.
Another thing I did while I was here, was became very involved with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, abbreviated IUFRO. And that is a society based in Vienna, Austria. And they, they represent research, mainly timber research organizations and wood research organizations from over 140 countries and I think the number of scientists involved in that are close to fifteen or sixteen thousand. So I worked with, I was involved with that organization first at the, at the level that I was here at the Forest Products Lab in wood-based composites, and then moved up as a coordinator of a division, which would be about a third, well, a fifth of the whole organization, and served on the Board of Directors there. And that was a tremendous experience. So that, all of these things forced you to be more and more organized, and more and more, you had to keep the job going here, and you had these other responsibilities, you know, so you sort of grew into that.
00:31:38 - 00:34:00 Travel
Travel, board meetings, conferences, international
Yeah, and you said the IUFRO was based in Vienna. Did you have opportunities to travel while you were working here?
Oh yeah. That was, that was really a nice benefit of that. I mean, I traveled really all over the world with, through the auspices of that organization. And the Forest Service, here, in the US, usually had a senior, one of the senior Forest Service people, were on the Board of Directors in one capacity or another. So, there was support for participating in that organization right from the top of the Forest Service. And we would, there would be board meetings that we would go to all over the world---South America, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and moving north to Mexico, a lot of interaction with the Canadians. But then there was a lot of contact with the Japanese and the Koreans and Chinese and even some with the Iranians, and, of course, all of Europe, the European countries. So, it was, it was a great experience, and it broadened your horizons tremendously.
So you were traveling mostly for meetings and conferences and less for research purposes?
Yeah, or coordinating really major research programs that would be completed in a number of different countries. And these would be very broad goals, you know, focusing on sustainability of the forest resource. In other words, anything that's harvested, there's something planted, and so there's always the same amount of resource available to people, or more---that sort of thing. So, it was very interesting work.
00:34:00 - 00:40:46 Satisfying Projects
Satisfying projects, impact, composite materials; recycling, composite panels, fiberboard, particle board; manufacturing facilities, Forest Service, small diameter trees
And so, I guess, between your travels and the projects that you worked on, were there any that provided the most satisfaction for you?
Well, I guess, the [pause], in terms of impacts, I would say that this work we did with the veneer and plywood and making structural lumber products had a substantial impact. And that was very, you know, over five or seven years you could judge that yeah, boy, this was successful, and it's being adopted by industry, and it's being used. So that was one project that was very much like that. And then the recycling efforts, and then the wood-plastic composites were also very, very rewarding.
And would you mind expanding on the recycling efforts? You said you took old newspapers to make---
Oh sure, well, fiberboards and particleboards, but mostly fiberboards, are made by taking pieces of wood and breaking them down to a wood fiber, and that's how paper is made. But, instead of making paper, we would make composite panels. For example, particleboard that would be used in shelving or desks or, you know, in a host of applications. So, we would, we were trying to introduce waste products into those manufacturing streams. And we would look at, of course, old newspapers, a lot of that goes back into new paper, or recycled paper, but we would make products with blends of wood fibers, and old newspapers, wood fibers, and demolition wood waste. Also, we would look at; one of the advantages of working with these composites is that you don't have to start with a straight log. You can work with a branch; you can work with small pieces, and you can still get the wood fibers out of it, and you can make larger pieces. So, instead of burning urban wood waste, of---you know, if they go through Madison and trim trees and so forth---you can take a lot of that material and reduce it to the fiber and put it back into products. So, we could do all of that successfully, but then you ran into the economics of collecting this material and the wood product, the wood plants, manufacturing facilities that make these like fiberboards, medium-density fiberboards, hardboards, are huge. They use tons and tons and tons of material a day. And they run twenty-four hours a day. So, you would run it, most of these ideas are still great except for the fact that you had to collect them and transport them to the manufacturing facility. And the manufacturing facilities generally are located where the resource is, and that's in, you know, Northern Wisconsin, or not near population centers. So there's a practical limit to them, to how that can all develop. But we developed technology to handle a lot of, wood that would be either cut and burned or recovered and burned or landfilled. And even today, there's a huge effort on small wood, how you use small trees.
For example, five, six inch diameter trees, and there's an awful lot of our forests, throughout the US now, that are way overcrowded, because there's been environmental movement to slow down or eliminate harvesting of trees. And you read about these devastating fires in the West, a lot of those fires could be much reduced if the forest had been treated, and that material had been removed. Well, if you remove the material, what do you do with it? Making it into these composite products is, is really the best option. And a lot of that is going on now. The Forest Service typically, well any public lands you would let a, you would decide how much you wanted to have harvested, and you'd let people bid on taking that material out. So they would pay the Forest Service or the government. They would buy the resource. What with the small material, there's very little use for it, and so it's just the opposite right now; the government has to pay people to remove it. And so finding ways to utilize that material has a lot of benefit, in terms of getting the most for the resource and putting it back into a useful form and then also providing jobs for the rural communities. And, you know, improving the economic base of these rural communities. So that kind of thing is going on today, and we were involved a lot with that also.
00:40:46 - 00:42:50 Forest Service
Forest Service, USDA, impressions; public perception, insulated from; perception, changing; decline in FPL employees, funds
So, stemming from that, then, how did you feel about working for, I guess, partly for the Forest Service and with the Department of Agriculture?
Let's see now, when you say how do I feel about it?
I mean, did you have a positive association of working with the Forest Service? Or did you feel that impressions of the Forest Service were generally positive? Or negative? Or did you not feel like you were working really for the Forest Service?
Well, being at the---a couple things---first, being at the Forest Products Laboratory was, you were, you had a, you were perceived differently than working for a Forest Service Ranger District, or a part of the Forest Service that harvested materials, or ran campgrounds or that sort of thing. So it was, it was a positive thing. And you weren't, we weren't associated, all the negatives that have occurred because of public perceptions of the Forest Service. We were sort of insulated from that, because we weren't involved with all these controversies that would arise from, ok, all of a sudden, we're not going to log in this forest anymore, well all these local communities, all their employment was gone and that sort of thing. So it was very positive, I would say, yeah, very much so, very good.
00:42:50 - 00:51:42 Public Perception
Public perception, humorous stories, White, Reggie; tours, work with public; personnel, hiring practices
And, I guess, did you see public perceptions of the Forest Service change during your time here?
Yes. I saw a huge change from starting with a much more positive perception of the Forest Service, in general now, to much more negative perception, and then now moving back to more positive perceptions. But that's very slow, because, in the meantime, there's been a lot of environmental regulations put in, and harvesting bans, and that sort of thing. And some of that's very, was very much needed, you know. So, it's a balancing act. And, but generally, I think the perception of the Forest Service now is better than it has been, and could probably continue to, continue an upswing. In terms of the amount of, or the employees that are working in the area or they worked for the Forest Service, I don't have any idea whether that's expanded or decreased. I think there's a feeling generally that probably way too many people are assigned to the Washington office, to these big offices, and are not on the ground.
I would say one of the problems with the Forest Products Laboratory is staffing levels now, versus what they were, oh in the '70s. There's been a steady decline with tighter budgets. And so as the staffing declines, it is much harder to keep all of the disciplines going, that the lab has worked on. There's, I don't know, there were sixteen or eighteen different projects like the one I had in composites, but in timber engineering and mycology, and preservation, and fire retardants. It's hard to keep all of that going with a reduced staff, for sure. And that's one of the problems I think is happening now.
And do you see that as a function of say administration in DC or specifically Forest Service administration, or maybe the broader political atmosphere?
I think it's the political atmosphere. I do.
Well maybe, going back to the Lab specifically---
Yeah, I'm talking about broader pictures.
Yeah, well, and that's fine too, it's good to know the context. I guess, do you have strong or specific memories about colleagues that you had here?
Well, yeah, I don't know how to comment on that. I mean,
Or any particular stories that you remember? Or funny incidents? Or something interesting that happened that you want to record?
Well, I remember one day, I don't know, it must have been in the mid '90s, I got a call from the front desk, well there's a visitor here that would like to come and look at your project and so forth. Well, it turned out to be Reggie White, the Green Bay Packer. And of course, he was a tower; he could barely get through the door. And he was interested in small projects that he could initiate in inner city, you know, for taking this recycled material and making something at the local level. And, I think he did get, his organization or whatever he was sponsoring or involved with, did get that kind of thing going. But that was kind of fun to talk to him and to show him around.
Our area of the composite products was one that people were always interested in, and it was easy to communicate with the public about, about this area. You know, they can relate to products in their home that we would have worked on, and so forth. So, we would get a lot of public, people come to just stop in for a tour, oh we'd like to see this. Well we'd get calls daily to take people through and explain things to them. And they would range from just the general tours to senators and high ranking USDA people, and you know, people from all over the world really. Then that was an interesting, you'd meet some, that's why every day was so different. We would always have some element of, of that going on, you know, different people coming through, and our project, our work was easy to explain and was of interest to them. It's much harder to explain some kind of a wood fungi attacking some timber or something, you know. So, I mean that, we were exposed to the public a lot more than a lot of other elements here. And I enjoyed that; that was real positive.
So, you know, in terms of memories of other people I know, one of the problems with the Forest Products Lab was they would hire people in sort of surges. So there would be maybe thirty new people starting within two months or three months. Well, that also meant that thirty, twenty or thirty people were retiring and leaving huge gaps in knowledge and in experience and skills. And that was always a difficult thing to deal with and accommodate. But there would always be a real challenging and good young talent, you know that we would pick up. And a lot of our employees were sort of trained on the spot. You know, they'd come in to the job and they learn a field by participating in it. And no, I mean it's hard to hire people that have these skill sets that you need in these different areas, so you know, a lot of that. So it was always real interesting. And the mix with the students was a real positive thing---we always had half a dozen students in our area alone. They would be, either they'd be part-time people or working on advanced degrees or taking a course where they were required to do some kind of hands on work, that sort of thing. So, I, all those were real positive.
00:51:42 - 00:55:15 University Of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison, research projects, students; part-time employment, project leader; retirement, consulting, writing
So, other than, I guess, working with the students who were in your section, did you have any other, or feel any other connections to the University?
Oh sure, yes. Yes, we had a lot of giant research projects either in the engineering areas, civil engineering, chemical engineering, materials engineering, or in the agricultural areas, working with different plants and trying to make products with them and that sort of thing. So, we had a lot of interaction with, and a lot of joint authorship of refereed papers, that sort of thing. And a lot of grants, applications that we would submit jointly, prepare jointly, to fund different initiatives. Sot that was a lot of interaction, yeah.
So, I guess do you have any other stories or interesting things that you remember from your time here before we get into sort of, post-Forest Products Lab?
I, I was never, I'm not the kind of person that really, I didn't get involved in that. I don't have a lot of memories like that. Like your asking, I know what your asking, but I don't have a lot of memories about that kind of thing.
What about your last years working part time? Were you still doing the same job? Were you still a project leader?
Yeah, I was serving as a project leader while they looked for a replacement. And so I was doing supervision and a couple of small research projects, but mostly just making sure that the research programs were continuing and focused. So that's what I did for those two, those two years.
And, I guess, so was there any particular reason that you decided to retire? Or was it just time? Or they had finally found a new project leader?
Well, with me it was a health issue and I just, I just couldn't keep up the pace. So, that's mainly why I left. But on the other hand, as I look back on it, I'm very glad I did. I still run a consulting business in grant-writing and proposal-writing in the natural resources area. Some consulting with wood manufacturers and have broadened out to work with all kinds of different agriculture. So, you know, it's been a good thing. I'm real happy that I did that.
00:55:15 - 00:58:17 FPL, Mark
FPL, mark; comparison to industry employment, final remarks
And, I guess, do you feel like your work here has left a mark on the Forest Products Lab, or on the broader world?
Yes, I think so. I think so, yeah. That's hard to measure, of course. And it's a little bit, everybody thinks that they probably had a big impact but I think our work generally moved in the right directions and we're, we were responsive to societal needs at the time. And, yeah, I think it's been positive, for sure.
And, I guess, so given the choice would you go back to private industry or would you have given up your time at the Forest Products Lab to go back to private industry? Or did you appreciate working for the government or maybe a more research-based organization?
Well, I guess, either way. I think working here was a different experience in that there's not direct day to day supervision of me or people, my compatriots here. So, you had to be, you know, you have to be pretty much a self-starter and keep focused on your own because you don't have somebody reviewing things on a daily basis or even on a weekly basis. And in industry it's much more intense, much more, at least in my experience, every day is focused on, you know, accomplishing some particular thing towards a goal, which is usually improving the bottom line. So, contrasting the two, this was a very, very enjoyable job, and you know, just as demanding, but you had to put the, you, you were the one that set the schedules and, and tried to meet accomplishments, rather than somebody pushing you and telling you to do that.
Well, I think we're approaching an hour, so if there's anything else that you've thought of, any questions that I've asked that have sparked other memories---
No, I think. Pretty good.
Great. Well, thank you so much.
[End of Interview]