Graduation to Vocation: Promoting Quality in the Wood Products Industry

Student posing in field by tree

Seth Champion is graduating with an undergraduate degree in Natural Resources: Policy and Administration Concentration with a minor in Agricultural Business Management. After graduation, he will be a Quality Supervisor with the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. Additionally, Seth will begin his Master’s in Forestry at Mississippi State University online.

Students at NC State basketball gameHow has the College of Natural Resources impacted you and prepared you for your future?

CNR has been amazing. It has helped me discover and develop my interests. I have been able to learn what I like and dislike, which is an important skill that lead me to a wonderful job after graduation. I have learned the importance of forestry and the necessity to our society of wood products. Most of all, CNR has taught me how extremely important it is to network and make and keep relationships with people. With this knowledge, I believe I am going to be a well-prepared Wolfpack graduate!

What kind of research or other hands-on/in-the-field learning did you participate in?

I participated in much hands-on learning through classes and labs (especially) in the College of Natural Resources. Hands-on learning experiences include completing a natural resource inventory for a portion of Lake Johnson Park in NR 300 and completing an Environmental Impact Statement for NR 484. Most memorable though, were the many Dendrology labs I had in the Fall of 2017. Though FOR 339 was the hardest class I have ever taken, those hands-on experiences helped me learn more than I ever had in the past. I believe that the hands-on learning experiences that I have participated in are an important attribute of the greatness of North Carolina State University.

Student studies tree for class project

What’s your favorite memory or class from your time at the College of Natural Resources? Why?

One of my favorite memories from my time at the College of Natural Resources was getting to visit sawmills during my FOR 252 class with Dr. Braham. Getting to see what products our trees get turned into was very interesting to me, and that interest is partially what drove me to work in the forest products industry after I graduate.

What is unique about your work?

My work is unique in that the Southern Pine Inspection Bureau writes the grading rules for Southern Pine Lumber. As a Quality Supervisor, I will get to travel all over North Carolina to different sawmills to work with manufacturers to help them produce the best Southern Pine Lumber possible.

What motivated you to pursue your work?

I was motivated to pursue my work for two reasons. First, I have learned the importance of wood products in our society, so I wanted to work somewhere that was focused on them. Second, I wanted to work with people to help produce great products that originate from our forests and fields. The Southern Pine Inspection Bureau fit wonderfully within these two desires that I was seeking for in a career.

What advice would you give students entering your major or field?

PLEASE go to the job fair in October of every year that is for students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Natural Resources, and College of Sciences. You will meet great contacts in many different professions and industries.