00:31:28 - 00:36:09 Colleagues
colleagues, memories, stories, characters; Croan, Suki; Korean War; Burdsall, Harold; Larson, Michael, mycology; Highley, Terry; Stayton, Don; Richter, Adrian; Green, Rick; retirees
Well maybe switching gears a little bit to talk a little bit about some of the people that you have worked with here. Are there any colleagues or people that you've met over the years that are particularly memorable? Any interesting characters that you've met along the way?
Oh yeah [laughs]. There was a woman in our group, her name was Suki Croan, and she was actually in bio-deterioration when I was there and then we transferred down to mycology at the same time. She was an interesting personality, she was very driven. She was an older woman, about twenty years older than me I guess, Korean dissent---well actually she was born in Korea and came over here after the Korean War---and she was very driven to succeed, she had been a research technician for many, many years and then she got promoted to scientist when there was a big push basically for civil rights and they wanted some minority scientists, it what it came down to. So she didn't have to apply for the job, she just got converted. She was very driven, really one to kind of dominate the resources in the group and that led to a lot of problems in bio-deterioration, probably caused its dispersal because we all kind of got assigned to different units. Then she came down to mycology where she kind of got more focused and really started to do more work and then eventually I became her boss, which was kind of ironic cause we hadn't gotten along very well for many years. But you know we reached an accommodation but she will always remain in my mind [laughs]. In fact we are just clearing out some of her papers now because she did pass away last year. We're trying to free up some room and we are going through her papers and it's like oh yeah there's Suki [laughs]. So she was definitely a very strong minded individual. You know the other of course would be Hal and Mike Larson, they were again kind of mycological gods in the mycology pantheon, people still about. Some of the earlier technicians were characters, some of these---we used to call them old white guys you know. Don [Stayton?] was particularly notable, he was Terry Highley's technician, and he was bachelor boy his whole life, lived with his mom, traveled all over the world with her, told a lot of dirty jokes when I wasn't in the room. Then his coworker was Adrian Richter who was my technician. Those guys, they were just characters; they would joke around with each other. Unfortunately Don passed away after he and Adrian had had quite a spat so when he passed away---they hadn't been getting along very well---and I think Adrian felt really badly about that. So working with Carol and Rick Green over the years has been really fun. Rick is---he's very creative and he's probably one of the biggest characters in the Lab. When Terry Highley retired Rick gave one of the retirement speeches and when he and Terry had gotten together and they had gone through all the various programs that the Lab had had with their various acronyms and he gave a whole talk about that, about you know work at home and total quality management, and all these things and they all have their abbreviations and we all knew what they were. It was just so funny; it was one of the funniest retirement speeches I ever heard. Then Hal Burdsall was really---he was a character as well. We still socialize with him, but you know he taught me a lot about mycology and he taught me a lot about being a project leader, and although he was very well known in mycology he didn't have a real big ego about it. A lot of these guys you know they're not really very fun people, but he was always a character. He has a farm down in Black Earth [Wisconsin] and he used to raise sheep, now he trains mules, but he was always very interesting because he had such a huge life outside of the Lab. You know a lot of these scientists are really focused on their work and that's pretty much all they talked about, but Hal was just an interesting person because he had so many other interests. I guess those are probably the major players.