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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #927: Moody, Russell C. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (May 5, 2008)

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00:03:32 - 00:07:40 Knowledge, Wood Handbook

Knowledge, Wood Handbook; FPL reference materials; Warren, Fred; first impression, first day, 1964, finances

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00:03:32

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LB

Great. So, prior to your interview here, and being hired and then going on the tour, had you heard of the Forest Products Lab?

RM

Probably not until the last semester of my senior year---taking the timber structures course, which was one of my final courses. When you study wood design, you inevitably come up with the Forest Products Lab because of the Wood Handbook and as a basic, kind of a basic reference. And then we had some other texts. But, when you, when you learn---as soon as you get into anything timber-engineering related, you're going to find that a lot of the basic references come back to the Forest Products Lab here. And, so I'd heard about it, never really had visited it until I was interested in the job, and came here on the job interview, before I visited here on my---. And I, I don't know when it was, probably in February, March, something like that, I came here. I'd have to find out for sure. But it was somewhere in the early part of the second semester of my senior year of college. I came here and met Fred, I remember Fred Warin took Nance and I on a tour, and we sat down with Fred and talked to him about it and then we, soon after that I had the job offer.

LB

And what year was that?

RM

1964.

00:04:58

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LB

Fabulous. So, I guess from the, your timber structures course, did you have any particular impressions of what the Forest Products Lab would be once you came here?

RM

I don't really think I knew what I was getting into. I really didn't. And it, strangely enough, one of my weakest parts of my engineering I think was report writing; I dreaded it, and stuff like that. And I'd had courses in report writing and stuff like that, so I knew the basics of it, but you soon found out you had an awful lot to learn. And, but now that you know, in retrospect, that's really why you hire college graduates, it's because they have the ability to learn, the proven ability to learn. And so, it, but that was a, probably one of my biggest struggles was how do you write these reports and make them sound sensible, you know. And you could read other people's reports, and they sounded so great, and then you tried to write, tried to write like that, and pretty soon everything you wrote sounded so dull.

00:06:08

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LB

Wow, so, I guess, when you came here for the first time, what were your experiences? What was the first day like?

RM

I don't remember. No, no thoughts of that. I know, I know that my first paycheck was just---well, first of all, the paycheck was going to be nearly a month away from the time you started, and it was two-week pay periods, and then it was sometime after that. And we were interested in that, because, quite frankly, with just graduating from school, and with a daughter, and stuff like that we were, we were not very healthy financially-wise. And, and I don't know how, the word got out here someway, and somebody found out about it And I don't know whether it was John Koening or Keith Kellika, or something, said well we've got the credit union here, and they would loan you money. So, I think one of the first, within the first week I was here, I went and got a loan from the credit union, and probably paid it, probably paid it back. Then, I guess, you know your first job, you, I was given---I worked with John Koening right away and some with Bob Kurtenacker, and we were given some, we had some experiments to do with corrugated containers and, and I worked with John, John was fairly new too at that time. But John was always enthusiastic and always had lots of ideas, so we were always chasing some, some ideas.

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