John Anthony

"I believe that forestry will always play a role in the future of this country, both for material and recreational needs."

Tree Improvement Coordinator, Research Forester at Weyerhaeuser Company

BS Biology and Agriculture

 

What attracted you to your chosen field?

I have always enjoyed working with plants and trees. As a teenager and during summer breaks from college, I always worked in some aspect of forestry and enjoyed it. I had hopes of pursuing a career in agriculture or horticulture but found that forestry and research forestry was more appealing. Although I have not held to a steady career path in one discipline, I have gained a broad base of experience and knowledge in many aspects of Forestry. This has offered many challenges and rewards over a 28 year career with the same company.

What do you like best about the field?

Unlike some other professions, I have been able to see the fruits of my labor. I helped to establish genetic and research tests when I first began working and those tests have provided valuable information to help my company become one of the leaders in the forest industry. I have watched tests that I helped plant go through a full rotation cycle, grow to maturity and that same land be re-planted with improved genetic material that I helped develop.

What are some personal challenges you have faced in your field?

I have learned to cope with physically challenging work in various weather conditions. I have learned to communicate effectively and supervise others to achieve specific goals. I have learned and used many business skills and computer skills. Though, all were challenging they were very rewarding too.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

I see tree breeding as a process that must continue if we are to improve the quality of the end products and keep up with consumer demand. Although we are working hard at ramping up our clonal deployment, we must keep our tree breeding and testing processes in place to always provide new genetic material from which to select future clones. I believe that forestry will always play a role in the future of this country, both for material and recreational needs. Additionally, there will also be a need to keep and maintain our forests for environmental purposes.

What things can students do to prepare for a career in this field?

Any career in a biological field will always require strong skills in math and science. Most of the jobs in this field will probably continue to be in the private sector and business and communication skills will be a valuable asset. A strong and broad education will not only help in your chosen profession but will be valuable to you in all aspects of your life. There is nothing in life as valuable to me as learning and knowing how to learn.