GENERAL CAREERS OVERVIEW
Ernest J. Wiltsie Jr.
Supervisory Forestry Technician (research)
I knew that I wanted to work for the Forest Service when I was 10 years old. A neighbor told me I would never get a Forest Service job, so I went to work in a factory instead. I never forgot what he said. At the age of 32, I was given the opportunity to attend forestry school in Ohio. With the support of my wife and two kids, I left them in Pennsylvania to study for two years. It was the toughest two years of my life, but I earned a degree, and I proved that neighbor wrong.
I get to work every morning around 7:00 am. That's because as a supervisor, technicians rely on me for work assignments, information, and supplies. I'm also in charge of my colleagues' safety: I inspect the safety of our lab buildings and certify each employee in AED, CPR, First Aid, chainsaw safety, and other areas. I still manage to spend plenty of time in the field, conducting forest health assessment inspections for insects and disease.
I like getting out into the woods, continuing the research that started in the 1920s. Sometimes I stop and think about those who set up the studies and have passed on now. We have been given the responsibility to carry on their work, to walk where they walked. It's a privilege and an honor.
I love my job. I try to give 100 percent every day and hope to make a difference. I work with some of the best-trained, most motivated people in the world, who are passionate about what they do. If you want to work here, be flexible, and don't turn down any opportunity. It doesn't get any better than this.