Bob Eaton

Chief at the Division of Fire Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Southeast Region

B.S. (Natural Resources Recreation Management)


What attracted you to your chosen field?

I have always had an interest in nature and working in the natural resources field. I developed my love for the outdoors growing up as a Boy Scout and camping every month.

What is the future outlook for your profession?

I think the future is very bright for those individuals that gain as much knowledge as they can in the natural resources field and then learn how to articulate, collaborate, and coordinate the issues and concerns with all the partners involved. Issues are not just local in nature. As I learned from one of my NCSU professors years ago, "Everything is connected to everything", so when you make decisions affecting the natural resources, it spreads over many, many miles of the landscape.

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

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Hard work, persistence, and mobility is the name of the game. If you are willing to move around and work hard and never, ever, ever, ever give up, then you will succeed.

What does the future hold for your chosen field?

There are more and more demands on the natural resources with increasing populations and with folks leaving the large metropolitan areas trying to get back to nature. This shift creates challenges for our future natural resource leaders who will have to learn to think outside the box to keep everything balanced.

What advice would you give to students entering the field?

Students need to get the basic foundation of a natural resources integrated academic curriculum. Communication skills (public speaking and writing) are an absolute necessity to advance in this field. Science is defined quantitatively, so the more math and statistics that you can take then the better prepared you will be. The last thing I would leave with potential students is: PASSION and hard work, hard work and more hard work. You got to have the passion to endure the long hours, low pay, hard work, harsh environmental conditions, etc. Nothing can take the place of hard work and perseverance. I always remember the quote by Jim Valvano "Don't give up, don't ever give up".