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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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00:32:03 - 00:35:58 University Of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin, Forest Service, cooperation, students, timber bridges, emphasis, impression, Senator Byrd, West Virginia

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00:32:03

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LB

So to sort of move to a different topic, generally, I guess the Forest Products Lab is jointly run, or partly affiliated with Forest Service and then also with the University. Did you feel more connected with either of those entities?

RM

Well, I guess our connection with the University was pretty loose in that---though we did some cooperative work with some of the people at the university, I would say, it probably wasn't as close a relationship as it probably could have been, I think. I think we could have done more things with the university. There was certainly---graduate students did their theses here and, and I actually supervised a few, a few, very few I guess, several of them. And I think we could have taken more advantage of that. There may have been ways to do it, but I guess the rewards were probably not---I mean you didn't get rewarded for doing it or something like that. And the, it would have been nice, in retrospect. We had, in the early '90s I guess it was, we had quite a bit of money to do work on bridges, timber bridges. And we had a, a strong effort in Washington to promote this and stuff like that. And, one of the big promoters was Senator Byrd of West Virginia. And Senator Byrd was successful at getting a lot of money that he had routed up earmarked for West Virginia, so it would come through here and head right to West Virginia. And we, we really struggled with that because it was---they knew they were going to get it, and so how do you control, how do you motivate them to do the work that you want done? And stuff like that, because they knew they were going to get it. So we tried to get some competition between the engineering and the forestry schools to bring proposals on what to do and stuff like that. But, if we just could have had the same type of thing with the University of Wisconsin here---if they would have said look here's, here's the money but you've got to work with the University of Wisconsin on this, then, then there would have been some motivation. But, in reality, the University of Wisconsin had to compete with everybody else, all the other universities for funding. And, so, but I mean, certainly I, I got to know a lot of people in the engineering area, and we worked, we worked some with them. But, I think we could have done, we could have done a better job of working with them.

00:34:52

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LB

And how about with the Forest Service?

RM

The Forest Service---we were, I mean, there were some other projects in the Forest Service that did some things roughly related to what we do. But, they didn't have any strong engineering emphasis. I would say their engineering emphasis was peripheral, and so we, we really didn't do a lot. In my area we didn't do a lot with other Forest Service research units. We were the main utilization laboratory for the Forest Service and, I mean, some of the other stations would have a unit that did some things with that, and we were, at times we were encouraged to work them, and at times we did. We did work with them. But again, the motivation is---where was the motivation to do it? Because we really didn't have many peers at those locations that you could work with kind of one-on-one.

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