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Forester, Weyerhaeuser

Tiffany Roddy has been a Forester with Weyerhaeuser Company in Eugene, Oregon, since the Monday after her baccalaureate degree graduation. She manages early-rotation silviculture on approximately 90,000 acres. Some projects she is currently responsible for include planting, aerial spray, and fire protection.

Degrees earned

 A.S., Forest Technology, 2008

 B.S., Forest Science, Forest Management Option, 2010

Q: What was your educational path to Penn State and to degree completion?

Q: What additional training or education have you completed since earning your baccalaureate degree?

I have taken several Wildland Fire trainings in conjunction with the state (Oregon Department of Forestry) and federal agencies (Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service) to develop my role as Fire Protection manager. I have a Private Pesticide Applicator license through the Oregon Department of Agriculture; am a Certified Incident Investigator; and am also certified in Wilderness First Aid.

Q: What were some of your activities as a student?

  • Penn State Student SAF Chapter: Vice President, Treasurer
  • Penn State Mont Alto Student SAF Chapter: President, Secretary
  • Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society, Eta Chapter: President, Treasurer
  • Study Abroad (German Forestry Tour in May 2009)
  • Penn State Mont Alto Woodsmen’s Team
  • Undergraduate Research (Meeting of the Pines Natural Area with Dr. Beth Brantley at Mont Alto)
  • Summer Internships (two summers with Weyerhaeuser in Louisiana, and one with Penn State’s Oak Regeneration Project under the direction of Dr. Kim Steiner).

Q: What's your average day on the job?

There is never an average day! Forestry department projects (planting, spraying, fire, etc.) occur at different times throughout the year based on tree biology and weather; so while you may work on the same project for a few days/weeks, it will eventually come to a close and then you’re on to a different one. Also, flow-to-work is big here, so if another department needs assistance or a problem comes up that you are qualified to help solve, your plans for the day could change quickly. The only constant would be starting early; I remember thinking those 8:00am classes were terribly early, but boy, do I miss those days.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

The fact that there is no ‘average day’ as it keeps things exciting and fresh. While I may spend more time in the office than I’d prefer at times due to project prep, on the flip-side there are times where I don’t come in to the office for quite a while – I just head straight to the woods! Nothing beats watching a sunrise or sunset up in the Cascades… and getting paid for it.

Q: What skills are necessary to do your job well?

Knowledge of tree biology, silviculture, and plant ID is key to managing Forestry Dept. projects. Being familiar with the equipment (helicopters, excavators, trucks) as well as contractor crew production, capabilities, and limitations can make or break a project. I utilize GIS quite frequently for map-making, data entry, and project planning. Mobile technology is becoming more and more important, whether on tablets or phones. Also, being comfortable driving larger, manual-transmission vehicles – flatbeds, fire trucks, etc. – is a plus.

Q: What advice do you give someone who wants to do what you do?

Aside from obtaining the obvious technical Forestry skillset, work on your soft skills:

  • Organization! I manage multiple projects over many units over a very large area; I also deal with various contractors to complete most of that work. Not to mention internal work between different departments and businesses. It’s very easy for things to slip through the cracks if you’re not on top of it all.
  • Take on as many leadership roles as possible. My current role involves managing contractors as well as working with other companies and agencies; my involvement as various officers in SAF and Xi Sigma Pi helped prepare me to make decisions, work as part of a team, and solve problems. Even though many days can be spent mostly alone, I am still part of a team within my department and office.
  • Being self-motivated and having a good work ethic are essential. The work can be demanding, both mentally and physically, and the days can be very long; you have to be able to push yourself forward. This isn’t a 9-5 job, and working some weekends (for projects or fires) is not unheard of. You also have to be able to solve problems and think outside of the box – having any type of malfunction in/near town is one thing, but 20+ miles out? You have to get creative and be resourceful.
  • Communication is a big one. I know everyone dreads the speech class (I sure did!) and Foresters aren’t exactly known for their love of public speaking, but it really is an important skill. I utilize public speaking various ways: conducting trainings, speaking in board/association meetings, giving contractor crews direction. Also, being able to communicate clearly and concisely through written and verbal means is vital when collaborating with your team.

Q: What advice do you have for current students?

Don’t forget to give back to your profession. Get involved with SAF and volunteer with associations that get forestry out to the masses. I feel like since we have the *best* job ever, we Foresters tend to hole up and just stick to what we know; but then the general public has no idea that we even exist! I remember there being a Penn State Forestry shirt that said “Forester, not Park Ranger” addressing this, and about 9 out of 10 folks I meet give me a quizzical look when I tell them my job title. Share the love of your major, network, and help others understand what we do.

Q: Where can we find your work?

LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanyroddy)

Forests Today and Forever (http://foreststodayandforever.org/)

SAF – Emerald Chapter (http://www.forestry.org/oregon/chapter/5/)

Weyerhaeuser Company (http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/timberlands/)