What was your journey to the College of Forestry?

I did my undergrad in business and a minor in economics at the University of Oregon and worked a few different jobs, including in the Admissions Office at Western Oregon University, and I really loved the environment there. To get the type of university job I wanted, I needed a master’s degree so I decided to come to Oregon State to get my master’s in counseling. After that, I worked at LBCC in the TRIO program and in the Horticulture Department at Oregon State. I moved over here to the College of Forestry in 2014.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The students. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t enjoy working with the students. It’s really cool to see their development from start to finish. They really grow in confidence.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I like to kayak when the weather is good. I read a lot and watch some TV. I’m a parent to two teenagers who can’t drive themselves yet, so I spend a lot of time shuttling them between activities.

What have you been watching and reading lately?

I’m watching True Blood – about 10 years too late – and I just read a book called The Nature Fix, which is very interesting and relates a little bit to my work.

What job did you want to be when you were a kid?

I was never anyone who had a great sense of direction from a young age, but I did love art as a kid, and I think I wanted to be an artist at one point.

If you could only eat tacos or sushi for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Tacos! I’m a vegetarian and have been for about 30 years now. I also love Thai food, Mexican food, and I would eat pizza every day if I could. There isn’t much I don’t like, except for bananas.

On May 14, 2019, the Oregon State University College of Forestry celebrated the grand opening of the A. A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory. Sierra Pacific Industries, founded by Emmerson and his father, R. H. “Curly” Emmerson, contributed the lead gift of $6 million toward building the facility in October 2015. The new lab adds 15,000 square-feet of structural testing space to the college, which already boasts some of the best technical research facilities in the nation.

The new lab will:
•drive commercialization of advanced wood products and position the university and the entire State of Oregon as a hub for innovative and sustainable product creation and construction;
•support the growth of manufacturing capacity in timber-dependent, rural communities;
•grow opportunities for Oregon State students and industry partners in research, professional practice and collaboration;
•reinforce Oregon State’s international status as a premier forestry and forest products institution.

The facility contains:
•A 2,500 square-foot advanced wood products manufacturing area,
•A flexible demonstration classroom area for workshops and professional development,
•A 60-by-80-foot strong wall and reaction floor system will facilitate testing of up to three-story wood structures,
•The offices of the TallWood Design Institute, a unique research collaboration between the Oregon State University College of Forestry, College of Engineering, and the University of Oregon School of Design. It is the nation’s only research collaborative that focuses exclusively on the advancement of structural wood products, and serves as a national research, education, and outreach hub focusing on multi-family and non-residential wood buildings.

The lab will support research including shear wall testing, structural connections, exploring the feasibility of salvaged lumber, architectural and product design, building performance and more.

At the grand opening of the lab, Anthony S. Davis, interim dean of the College of Forestry spoke about the lab’s research impact as well as what it represents – continued excellence in the teaching, research and outreach of the college.

“As we stand here just a few miles away from some of the most productive and diverse forests in the world,” Davis said, “we are better positioned than anyone else to serve as a bridge between our natural resources and meeting the demands of urban growth and renewal, while also continuing to conserve habitat and provide recreational access.”

How long have you been at Oregon State? How did you get here? What’s your career journey been like?

I actually attended grad school in the College of Forestry, graduating in 2006.  I worked on the Willamette and Gifford Pinchot National Forests as a Recreation Planner for a few years before starting my position with the OSU Research Forests in 2012.  I would say it’s the best job yet, except for the two summers I spent as a Wilderness Ranger in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness when I was an undergrad.

What do you love about your job?

I love working out here at Peavy Arboretum.  I can walk outside at any time and find a snake in the planter boxes, watch the birds, or go for a quick walk or run on the trails.  While I don’t get to work in the field as much as I’d like, all of my work is tied to the land and how people connect with it.  Finding ways to help people form personal connections with nature is my main motivator.  Also, I work with really wonderful co-workers, students, volunteers and visitors.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I have an awesome partner, two little kids, a dog, two cats and five chickens who make life fun and busy.  I also really enjoy writing fiction, knitting, cooking, spending time with my extended family, and playing time outside.

 

What have you consumed within the pop culture world lately. Got any good books, movies, shows or podcasts to share?

I’m really embarrassed to say how caught up I am in the last season of Game of Thrones and definitely spent a sleepless night this week reliving zombie battle scenes in my head.  I pretty much enjoy most sci-fi and fantasy tv shows, regardless of apparent quality, especially ones with queer characters.

 

What’s your favorite food?

Not-so-sweet chocolate cake with a chocolate buttercream frosting and a giant glass of milk.

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

I would like to be a cat, primarily because I would be able to sleep whenever I want to, wherever I want to.  Also, I would be very honest about how I feel at all times, and would enjoy small pleasures such as warm sunshine, cuddling, and chasing lasers.

Welcome to Oregon State! You started your job a few weeks ago. How is it going?

I say that it’s like drinking from a fire hose, but it’s good. There are lots of different things to consider. I worked at the University of Idaho before, and Oregon State is much bigger, and the College of Forestry is much bigger. There are different processes and what feels like thousands of trainings. I haven’t felt very effective yet.

What is your job, exactly?

My title is ‘targeted research coordinator.’ I’ll be helping to manage some of our internal funding sources. I’ll work very closely with the TallWood Design Institute to manage those funds and McIntire-Stennis research funds as well. I’ll also help Melora during busy times.

 

What do you do when you’re not working?

I love teaching people about using essential oils. I do that on the side.

What are your favorite oils?

Lavender, lemon and peppermint. They’re amazing during allergy season.

 

What is your favorite meal?

Probably literally the one that will kill me someday: fettuccini alfredo.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

I would pay off all my debt and put money aside for my children and future grandchildren, and then I would want to travel. My oldest daughter was born in Iceland so I would want to take here there to see where she was born and then also go visit my youngest daughter who now lives in Australia.

How did you end up here in the College of Forestry?

I’m a third-generation Beaver! I ran track here, and after I graduated, I lived in California for a year and a half before going back to school to get my teaching certificate so I could be a physical education teacher, but at that time, the job market was really competitive, so one of my friends suggested I get a job on campus. I worked in the registrar’s office for five years and in The School of Civil and Construction Engineering for a month shy of 20 years. I’ve been here for five.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The people. I love my colleagues and the students I advise.

 

Do you still run? What are your other hobbies?

I can’t run anymore, unfortunately. I had two knee surgeries, and I didn’t get the therapy I needed right away, so I never got back into. I like to play computer games and spend time with my family. I have one sister who lives here in town, and she has two kids. My older son lives in Albany with his three kids. I have step son in New Zealand, and we were able to visit him there about five years ago.

That’s amazing. Do you travel a lot?

Not really, but I do go to Maui every year. We like to go for the women’s basketball tournament and experience 84-degree and sunny December days.

 

Have you read any good books lately?

Right now I’m rereading the Hunger Games. I love those types of books.

 

If you were an ice cream flavor, what kind would you be?

Chocolate. It’s my favorite. And it has to be Umpqua ice cream.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve done for fun?

I’ve been zip-lining in Hawaii a few times, and I enjoy white-water rafting. My sister wants to skydive, but I would never do that.

You’re an OSU alumna, right? How did you end up here at the College of Forestry?

I graduated with my degree in merchandizing management in 2010. During college I was a START leader and worked in New Student Programs. I was involved in Greek life on campus and held leadership positions for my chapter and Panhellenic council. When I started to think about life beyond college, I knew I didn’t want to enter the corporate world. I loved my own academic advisor, and I attribute the fact that I didn’t fail out of college to her, so I went straight to grad school in the college student services administration program. After that, I advised the design program as it moved from PHHS to COB, then sociology and now natural resources.

What’s different about being an advisor in the College of Forestry than anywhere else on campus?

Our group is well-respected across campus. I love the people I work with, and I love the students I advise. They are often nontraditional students, veterans or active military, and they care about a wide range of issues that are important to me as well.

What do you do when you’re not working?

I chase my 19-month-old daughter around. My life has changed so much since becoming a parent. Right now I am enjoying watching her experience new things like swimming and going to the beach. It’s fun to see her excitement and joy!

Watching anything good on Netflix?

I love Grace and Frankie. I’m a Netflix binger for sure.

 

What about books? Are you a reader?

Right now, I read a lot of parenting books, but I did just finish Michelle Obama’s book and was able to see her speak in Portland. She also spoke at my graduate commencement. It was an honor to be able to see her twice in one lifetime.

 

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A pickled pig’s tail. I’m pretty sure it gave me an infection.

  • How did you end up at Oregon State as an undergrad? Why did you decide to stick around? What’s it like being a graduate student?

I grew up in a family of Beaver fans, so even though I’m a first-generation college student, I always saw myself here. I love the College of Forestry and the community of Corvallis. It’s a really nice place to stick around. Being a graduate student is extremely busy, but rewarding.

  • What’s your favorite part of studying wood science?

I really like that the program is technical-science focused, with a focus on industry, research and development. Hands-on experiences, in addition to industry exposure, have been crucial. The program itself has faculty and students with many diverse interests and areas of study, which provides unique perspectives and experiences.

  • What do you do when you’re not studying/working? (You could talk about your hobbies, family, friends and/or what you do for fun!)

When I’m away from campus, I enjoy hiking, fishing, and running wherever I can get away to with friends and family. I grew up around a lot of animals, so I enjoy a lot of time with my dog, Rogue, who often goes hiking with me. I enjoy watching sports, especially any Oregon State team.

  • When will you finish your program? What’s next? What’s your dream job?

I will be finishing up my master’s this June, then I will spend the summer traveling around Europe and the United States. After summer, I will be starting my career within forest products. My dream job and my eventual career goal is to be an executive on a forest products board of directors, where I can combine my knowledge, skills, and experience to benefit the company.

  • If you could be an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I would be a dog because loyalty, friendliness, ability to learn fast, fast-speed, and an adventurous spirit are great traits to have, which a dog already possesses.

TallWood Design Institute reaches out

Based at the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, the TallWood Design Institute (TDI) is the nation’s leading research collaborative focused on the advancement of structural wood products and mass timber design.

The institute represents a unique interdisciplinary partnership between OSU’s Colleges of Forestry and Engineering and the University of Oregon’s College of Design. The institute is at the forefront of mass timber research and real-world relevance. Its core tenets are the importance of industry collaboration, through outreach, education and feedback from professionals.

“Our goal is to conduct meaningful research and engage with the building community to help validate and highlight how these products and building systems work,” says Outreach Coordinator Evan Schmidt.

During FY 2017 and 2018, TDI focused on outreach by developing avenues of collaboration with community partners including product development, testing with manufacturers, educational seminars for students and designers and applied research projects with engineering firms.

Connecting with industry

TDI worked with the Freres Lumber Company in Lyons to test and develop an entirely new engineered wood product, mass plywood panels (MPP), in 2017 and 2018. TDI funded the second-phase of Freres’s testing, and continuing work with Freres includes optimizing MPP’s layup through modeling, structural testing, life cycle analysis, acoustics and architectural design applications.

MPP, like CLT, can be used as a substitute for conventional building materials. Now certified by the APA for structural use, MPP was installed for the first time in the U.S. as sheathing on Oregon State’s new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory in Corvallis.

“We are a good example of a family business working within our rural community to come up with something new and innovative,” Tyler Freres says. “It’s also been great to have the experts and the researchers at OSU and the TallWood Design Institute working with us on this project. We have a very close relationship, and appreciate all the extra hands involved in producing MPP.”

Advanced wood products for the next generation

Judith Sheine, TDI’s director of design and professor of architecture at the University of Oregon, focuses on another application for MPP. MPP-based modular construction was the focus of her most recent undergraduate architecture and engineering design studio. Focusing on mass timber applications allowed Sheine to partner with Modular Building Systems and Clackamas County to discuss a partnership project using MPP for Oregon highway rest stops.

The modular MPP project isn’t the first time Sheine’s mass timber design studio has resulted in a public-private partnership. SRG Architecture and KPFF Engineering worked intimately with TDI and the City of Springfield on a CLT parking garage after it was the focus on of Sheine’s studio classes in 2016.

Architects and engineers across the United States have expressed interest in creating similar structures. Lane County has also participated in the design studio process, and hopes to build its new court house from mass timber based on one of the award-winning designs that came out of the classroom.

Schmidt says he’s excited about continuing to engage with TDI’s industry partners.

“Research advancing mass timber is a time sensitive effort,” he says. “The private sector moves at a different pace and under different logistics than academia, so it’s essential that we continue to engage the design community. That’s what keeps us relevant, while our research is what lends credence to mass timber as a solution.”

New facilities will aid industry tests

TDI’s access to state-of-the-art testing facilities helps it accomplish its innovative research. The new A.A. “Red” Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory builds on the strengths of existing facilities. The lab is scheduled for completion in summer 2019, and will have both a three-story structural testing bay, as well as an advanced manufacturing lab. In addition to research applications, the manufacturing lab will contain a hands-on educational space for students, skilled workers and design professionals looking to learn more about mass timber applications.

Another research space in the design and development phase is a full-scale acoustic-testing facility that will be built in the Willamette Valley. The lab will be one of only a few certified acoustics testing facilities along the West Coast, and will offer TDI’s industry partners the opportunity to rapidly test and prototype mass timber assemblies based on their acoustic properties. The lack of a facility like this is often a limiting factor when it comes to utilizing mass timber, and TDI is excited to fill that gap for its industry partners.

Portland meetups a success

Part of TDI’s outreach approach includes holding educational and networking events geared toward bringing various stakeholders together to learn, collaborate and problem solve all things mass timber. To accomplish this, TDI hosts a monthly event in Portland called ‘Mass Timber Meetups.’ These are casual, network-focused events that are designed to stimulate discussion on a specific subject within the world of mass timber.

“We discuss topics like acoustics, fire, building information modeling (BIM) and more,” Schmidt says. “It’s a place where people who have worked with mass timber, or are just curious, can discuss their experience or ask questions.”

These conversations help to build a community around mass timber construction and educate construction professionals from a variety of areas. About 15-30 people from various backgrounds typically attend. These events are free and open to the public and will continue in 2019.

In March 2018, Oregon State hosted the inaugural Fire Summit in Portland. This event aimed to identify viable forest management practices that could help mitigate the risks and impacts of high-severity fire events in the West.

About 30 scientists, land managers and forest policy experts were in attendance. They came from five states and British Columbia, and represented six universities, seven federal land management agency offices, departments or research units, four private forestland management entities, and two cities.

The summit closed with a call to action from Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

“It has been a great opportunity for us to reflect on the challenges our region has faced and the challenges to come, to share best practices, exchange data and research and discuss insights we learn from fighting wildfires,”

Brown said. She went on to discuss the prevalence of wildfire in the West and the risk to communities, economies and livelihoods. Brown said that collaborations – like the Fire Summit – will be key in preventing devastating wildfires.

“By taking an ‘all-lands, all-hands’ approach and committing to work together across jurisdictional boundaries, we can sustain robust rural economies and preserve our natural resources for future generations,” Brown said.

Anthony S. Davis, interim dean of the College of Forestry agrees, “The Western USA is home to the world’s leading scientists who focus on fire on our landscapes. The Fire Summit was a unique opportunity for those scientists to interact with the policymakers who are asking for guidance in addressing this phenomenal challenge.”

The collective remarks of the panelists and speakers offered a big-picture perspective of the intertwined views of fire in the West, from the variety of jurisdictions, landscapes and vegetation types, and cultural experiences and expectations.

The experts compiled their feedback and made specific recommendations:

• Expand strategic use of commercial thinning, prescribed fires, and managed wildfire as forest management tools.

• Improve coordination across jurisdictions and ownership boundaries.

• Develop and implement cross-boundary ‘pre-fire response’ plans and strategies.

• Address inequities associated with liability for cross-boundary fires.

• Invest in data mapping, risk assessment, and applied research that directly supports cross-boundary management and suppression.

Oregon State officials recognize discussions like this are critical for encouraging stakeholder engagement when it comes to wildfire issues.

Work is also underway to identify opportunities to directly and regularly inform federal elected officials and staff in Washington, D.C., about summit outcomes and subsequent efforts. Direct dialogue and discussion of the opportunities for real progress is an important goal of Summit participants seeking to inform policies designed to help mitigate the risks and impacts of high-severity fire events in the West.

“The scale of our fire problem is likely measured in decades and centuries, not a handful of years, and across millions of acres, not localized forests and landscapes,” says Davis. “To address this serious challenge, we have to step out of our own way and not go back to the false promise of landscape stability maintained through unsustainable practices. The Fire Summit served to bring the widest range of partners to the table for a first conversation in this direction.”

The simulator has prepared you for the task ahead, yet sweat starts to drip from your brow, and the controls feel stiffer than they should. The first lever is pulled harmoniously. The second seems to stutter before falling into place. The last one brings a hard feeling to your gut, and you look out to the landscape full of logs in front of you. You have successfully replicated the simulator and moved around your first tree.

Since the 1980s, The Student Logging Training Program (SLTP) has been a part of the College of Forestry, according to Jeff Wimer, a senior instructor with the Oregon State University College of Forestry. The program allows students to experience real-world logging systems up close.

Connecting with the community and getting into the field is forest engineering student Dean Maben’s favorite part of being a member of the SLTP crew.

“I love getting the chance to get into the field and apply the things I’ve learned in the classroom,” Maben says. “It enhances my education as I am able to bridge the connection between the real world and what I am taught in class.”

Maben credits the SLTP with molding him into the person he is today.

“I’ve developed relationships I’ll have for my entire life,” he says “It’s taught me to be professional and to never stop learning.”

Maben says lifelong learning is something Wimer preaches to the crew, as he educates the next generation of professional foresters who will leave Oregon State and lead the industry.

“We have the ability to slow everything down and take the time to better teach how the various systems work. The technology we utilize is real world,” Wimer says. “We are fortunate that various machine manufacturers donate to us, on an annual basis, brand new equipment. On the crew, we continue to explore the rapidly changing technology of our industry.”

Equipment in use includes a Koller 501 Yarder, Link Belt loader and a John Deere skidder.

The SLTP also provides students the chance to participate in unique outreach experiences. In 2018, the student logging crew participated in the Pacific Logging Congress’ (PLC) Live In-Woods Show. The event invited the public to participate by viewing the latest forest industry technology in the woods.

“The show gave SLTP students a chance to interact with audiences they might now work with on a daily basis,” says Wimer, who also serves as president of the PLC. “It provided them the unique opportunity to educate other students, teachers, government representatives, loggers and the general public on the positive and sustainable methods used in the forest industry today.”

The SLTP helps Oregon State meet its land grant mission and reaches to a variety of audiences for education and training purposes.

“The program is quite unique in that there are very few universities that have such a program,” Wimer says. “The students who go through the program tend to have a leg up with their class work. Their field experience with the program gives them a frame of reference and hands on experience which allows them to excel in many of their classes.”