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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #971: Green, David W. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (April 18, 2008)

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00:03:25 - 00:08:08 Employment

employment, early years, assistant director, engineering, structures and material properties, paperwork, orientation, Ingrade Testing Program, wood properties and uses, assignments, orientation, Forest Service

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00:03:25

AP

Well could you maybe describe your first day on the job, first couple weeks, months, the first year or so and the division that you worked in?

DG

I was part of a larger group, assistant director area. Basically, it was generically called engineering, its actual title changed over the twenty-seven years I worked here and changed before that, but it still more or less the same thing. So it was groups of projects, of research work units that dealt with various aspects of engineering, from structures to material properties and so forth. My first official day at work was January 1st of '79, which is a federal holiday, so I started off on holiday the first day. Came the second day and of course they take you in and I was, visually I was impressed by how long and linear the hallways were, they just row after row of offices and so forth [laughs].

But at the same time I was very impressed about how organized they were. They were ready for me to show up, they had certain things that I needed to do, some of which was just the mountains of routine paperwork but other things more or less was orientation and that continued probably for the next month or two. And so they knew exactly the sorts of things that they wanted me be involved in and, you know had meetings to explain that and met people I'd be working with and so forth. And so I was really impressed that they were organized and knew what they were doing [laughs]. I was very impressed with the mountains of paperwork you had to fill out, but I kind of expected that for the federal government so [laughs]. Oh you know I got to meet some of the people that I didn't know but had heard of and that was good also.

I was hired to work on a very specific project initially, which is generally known as the Ingrade Testing Program. It was a new program, cooperative with the lumber industry in the U.S. and Canada, to come up with a total new basis for assigning [alignable?] properties to lumber. And it was a very large program. Although I worked under the project leader for that particular project, and I had others, I reported to his boss and so there was, you known, you have to be careful about slighting one versus the other, so [laughs], but they got along okay so it worked fine. And certain parts of the program were, or most of the program, actually was yet to be defined so there were a lot of meetings with the industry folks and so forth. Fairly early on they---you know I was never expected to be able to grade lumber, but I need to understand how to do it---so in the winter of '79 they sent me to Duluth, Minnesota for a week for training.

AP

Oh, a little cold there.

DG

Everybody felt very sorry for me because they knew I came from Virginia, what most people didn't know is I spent five years in Canada getting three hundred inches a year. I think they get about 150 inches average so [laughs]. So until this year that had been our previous record snowfall winter [laughs]. They did have orientation programs about the lab, they had orientation programs about the Forest Service and therefore a little about U.S.D.A., mainly how it fit in. So initially, I had a very favorable impression that here were folks here that knew what they were doing; they were connected up with other good groups of people, both academic research people and industry. It fit the impression I had of the Lab before I came so [laughs].

AP

Great. [pause].

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