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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #934: Gjovik, Lee R. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (June 19, 2008)

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00:45:12 - 00:50:06 Retirement

retirement, mark, impact, USDA, service, reasons, consulting

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00:45:12

AP

Okay. Well I guess we can move in to sort of the end of your career and your retirement time. When and why did you retire from the Forest Products Lab and do you feel that your work has left a mark on the Forest Products Lab or USDA in general?

LG

Oh yeah the work I [did] there has made a difference. Publications are still surfacing around the globe. As to when I retired, I had with my military time I had thirty years in service and I guess for one thing, the traveling I did for my job was a strain on the family and I thought that I'll take my retirement and do something different. So I retired. This is something just for information---I had been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. My thirty years are coming up in 1989 and I thought should I or shouldn't I? So I went up to personnel and filled out my papers for retirement, they were just as surprised as I was I guess, why are you doing this? I said it just [seems] to be [the] time, let somebody else [carry] the load for a while. I called my wife that afternoon, and I said, by the way you don't have to fix a lunch for me tomorrow because I'm retiring today [laughs]. She said what. I said yeah I'm done, so I won't have to have a lunch tomorrow. So that's how she knew about it.

AP

So it was kind of a spur of the moment thing or was something that triggered that?

LG

Well I mentioned this guy DeGroot okay, he was my project leader and every day was a confrontation of some sort or another. He didn't like me and I didn't like him I guess. That was one thing I thought I don't need this stress. I had always felt I could hang up my shingle and do a little bit of consulting because I considered myself very knowledgeable in wood preservation and product work like this. So, I felt well I'll just make up some business cards and send a few fliers out there and as of today I'm doing some consulting. Well there's no such thing as a little bit of consulting I found out, I was busier then for about [15] years than I ever [was working] at the lab. I had to put in a blackboard up in my office---in one of the bedrooms I changed into an office---I put a blackboard up there just to keep track of the court cases that were coming up and the depositions I had to [get ready for]. So it was kind of a crazy time there for [a number of] years. Then my dad told me there are two ways to tell somebody no when they want some help. One is just to flat say no and the other [way] is charge so much nobody can't afford you. Well I can tell you the second one doesn't work, charging too much is not an option because I was charging three hundred dollars an hour and it still didn't slow down the work. So now you know a little of my personal side.

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