- How long have you been at Oregon State?
I came back here in 2006, so it’s coming up on 13 years. I first came to Corvallis to work for the EPA in the mid-‘80s and worked some with the College of Forestry then. After about six years, I decided to get my Ph.D. and the program at Oregon State was an obvious choice. I started to look for funding and ultimately found John Tappeiner and the project that would become my Ph.D. But my first faculty position was at Northern Arizona University.
- What is your favorite part of your job now?
I love my job. I love the people: the faculty, staff and students. I love working on such an important topic that has breaking ideas and applications all the time. I love teaching and seeing graduate students develop and get established. I’ll keep going as long as I can.
- What does your life look like outside work?
I have a 25-year old son in an Air Force technical school in California and a 22-year-old daughter in her fifth year of the architecture program at the University of Oregon. Their mom passed away about the same time I moved to Corvallis 13 years ago. I remarried last year, though, and Bobbi and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary, and we have a seven-year-old son who keeps us busy.
I work a lot, but I still think work-life balance is important. I’m able to do things at my son’s school and get down to Eugene to see my daughter, and I enjoy a lot of gardening and home improvement projects.
- What are your hobbies?
I’m pretty handy, so I do a lot of household projects. I also love to cook.
- What’s your favorite food?
In the summer time, there’s nothing better than a hamburger off the grill with homemade tomato and onion from the garden. In the winter time, a pot of chili. I’ve won a few chili cookoffs.
- Wow, can we have the recipe?
Nope. It’s heavy on meat and beans and a couple of Virginia secrets I got from my momma.
- You grew up in Virginia? What was that like?
My father was a general contractor, so I grew up working on houses. He always told a story about one time when I was working on a hot summer day on a roof, and I threw my hammer down. I knew then that I wanted to go to college and have a different kind of life outside of Virginia. I have about 40 cousins in my big, country family, and I’m one of the few who ever left central Virginia.
- If you were a vegetable, what kind of vegetable would you be?
Maybe a carrot? They’re tall and thin like me.
- You don’t watch much TV, so what do you do for entertainment?
In the summer, I get season tickets to the Corvallis Knights. There’s no better way to spend a Corvallis evening than with your kid and a bunch of other kids at a baseball game. My son loves it too.