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History of the Forest Products Laboratory

Interview #920: McDonald, Kent A. (June, 2009)

View all of First Interview Session (April 10, 2008)

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00:07:00 - 00:10:01 Iowa State University

Iowa State University; Bensend, Dwight; first day, field research, sawmill, utilization

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00:07:00

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LB

And, so that was after you started full time?

KM

Right.

LB

Great. Just to go back a little bit, had you heard about the Forest Products Lab before you started in that summer program?

KM

Yes, because we had graduates [from Iowa State who] worked here as well as a professor [who] was very enamored with the Forest Products Laboratory. [He presented class material about] the research they were doing here. So, as a student, we heard a lot about the Forest Products Laboratory.

LB

And do you remember what professor that was?

KM

Professor Dwight Bensend, B-E-N-S-E-N-D---just passed away here, about a year and a half ago.

00:08:05

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LB

And, so we've already talked a bit about your first summer full time at the Lab. Do you have any specific recollections of your first day here? Perhaps of your interview here before you started working?

KM

I guess I [don't remember being] interviewed. [I was] a warm body that could work during the summer, and they needed warm bodies. So we got in line and [were] hired. There were other scientists here that said, we're looking for somebody like that to work for us. So, I kind of had an in already, because they knew how warm-blooded we were, I guess.

LB

Right. Willing to go out in the forest.

KM

[Yes].

LB

So, I guess, it seems like you've spent a lot of time out in the field doing research, as opposed to in the Lab. Did you spend most of your time here or elsewhere?

KM

Most of the time here [at FPL. Most of] the [research] projects that [I] would work on involved going to either the forest, or into a [wood] processing center, [like] a sawmill or a woodworking plant. Because we were involved with, as much as anything, the utilization of the [forest] products that came out of the forest. Not [involved] so much [with] the management of the forest itself, but mostly [research of] the products.

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