00:00:00 - 00:04:06 Introduction
Introduction, family background in mills, WWII, UW-Madison veterans program, electrical engineering, background in television stations, knowledge of and switch to FPL, Keith Kellicutt
Today is June 24, it is a Tuesday, I am Lauren Benditt and I'm here with Duncan Godshall who is going to tell us about his experiences at the Forest Products Lab. So I have a list of questions and maybe I can just start. If you could tell us a little bit about your early years and what prepared you to come work at the Forest Products Lab?
Sure. Yeah I'm quite content with your list of topics and so if that's alright with you we'll proceed right down that way?
Well first of all, going way back but shortly in my entire family history has been tied up with the wood product industry in one way or another, on both sides of the family. One grandfather was a treasurer of a lumber company, another grandfather was a timber cruiser and laid out the logging railroads. My father worked in a mill, lumber mill, lost a finger there. My first job was in the paper mill testing paper so there's background history there.
Where was the mill?
In Dunbar, [WI,] long gone of course because the company always burned the mill after the timber was gone. My father moved Peshtigo, which is where a paper mill was and where my first job was. So I started out basically testing paper and then of course, why World War II came along and I got called away there, and I ended up in there communications, electronics basically, [as] this was really before the day of electronics, because we were still using vacuum tubes [laughs]. So when I came back to Madison to go to school on the veteran's program, why I took electrical engineering, have a degree in that and then proceeded to help build two television stations in Madison.
So I knew of the Forest Products Laboratory partly because of the laminated wood arch, they were partly pioneers, but they made the first laminated wood arches in my hometown of Peshtigo and I grew up with a man whose family had a boat factory there and that's where the laminated arches were built. So I knew of that in the early days so that was my only connection really to the Forest Products Lab, I had no thought or intention of working here. But as it turned out while I was still working in the television business---why my boss in television lived across the street from Keith Kellicutt, who was a project engineer here at Forest Products Lab. And Keith was talking with this other man and saying that they were having some difficulties with some of their experimental programs because they could not make the recording apparatus work. So the net result of that was that I came here on a part-time basis and continued with my full job in television. Well, after six months I made the switch, I went to half-time at television and full-time at Forest Products.