Tag Archive for: women in wood

Business woman montage

Voices-Women in the Pallet Industry

March is Women’s History Month and we at Nature’s Packaging are here for it. All of the blog posts for this month were about women and their impact on forestry, forest products, and the pallet industry. For our final post of this month, we asked women in the pallet community one question:

How have women changed the pallet industry?


Su So-Longman – President

Pallet Central Enterprises

When I started Pallet Central Enterprises 17 years ago, it was rare to find women in a leadership role in this industry. I found such statistics exciting since I have always lived to compete and thrive in challenging circumstances.

Women have advanced light years since that beginning. Now, it is not uncommon to see some of the best pallet companies in the US, owned and operated by women. They are also plant managers, purchasing directors, and account managers among other roles. That is a testament to how involved women have become in every aspect of the pallet industry.

Women certainly possess the more traditional leadership skills, but they also bring a depth of understanding, flexibility, and true work ethic to the workplace. This is demonstrated in the loyalty and longevity of employee relationships, as well as the connections with customers and vendors.

I am proud to say that women are 80% of my in-office work family at Pallet Central Enterprises, and my management team consists of 90% women who oversee daily operations, including sales and accounting. Our national sales manager, who is also a woman, is on the board of the NWPCA.

Women of pallet industry are here to stay, and the industry is definitely better for it.

Julie DeRoush – National Director of Supply Chain

TRI-Pac North America

Women have brought a fresh perspective to the pallet industry through forward thinking and personal connection to customers. Women are largely having the day-to-day conversations with the customer base and have played an integral role in identifying and introducing innovative technology and tools that support the internal expediency and “Just-In-Time” service that customers are demanding. We are calculated risk takers and problem solvers that balance the chaos this industry tends to thrive in.

Beatrice Vasquez – President

Oxnard Pallet Company

Some strengths women have is the ability to multi-task effectively, demonstrate patience, show compassion/respect/flexibility with others (especially employees), and maintain good organizational skills. I believe our attention to detail along with all these strengths have placed an important and vital role for us within the pallet industry in helping to surge forward for more growth potential!

Kristin Kopp – VP of Communications and Marketing

48 Forty Solutions

What I have noticed from women in the pallet industry who I have had the pleasure of working with, is that they bring a sense of humility and thoughtfulness to the table. There are a lot of broader and deeper discussions taking place that might not have otherwise. Pushing the why of initiatives and results to discern “how we got here” rather than just focusing on the numbers themselves, is something I enjoy seeing. What I love most about women in this industry is there is a toughness and resilience which I think a predominantly male industry both appreciate and respect. This respect encourages pallet businesses to hire more women, softening the edges of their businesses a bit, and being open to a whole different style of thinking, feeling, discussing and problem-solving.

Carolyn Beach – Chairwoman of the NWPCA Board

Co-Owner Westside Pallets

Women in the industry are much more present.  More women are not only finding careers in the pallet industry and other industries associated with pallets, but they are more involved in the associations such as NWPCA and WPA.  It’s encouraging that it is common to see women in the pallet industry.


We close the month of March celebrating Women’s History and their contribution to this industry. We look forward to the continuation of women taking leadership roles in all of the trade associations (NWPCA, WPA, CWPCA) affiliated with the pallet industry.


Today I Learned

#TIL-Women’s History Month and The Forest Service

In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month. Here at Nature’s Packaging that means that each blog post this month will focus on the vital part that women play in forestry, and the forest products industries.

The first women to work in the U.S Forest Service began in the early 20th century. During the beginning, their jobs were restricted to what were viewed as gender appropriate duties for women in the workplace. Yet, these early pioneers laid the groundwork and proved time and again that their abilities far exceeded their roles as they broke existing barriers to take on new fields and responsibilities within the service.

In this Nature’s Packaging post, we will focus on the history of women employed at the U.S. Forest Service and learn how their hard work and dedication built the infrastructure of the U.S. Forest Service and slowly expanded to field services and leadership roles.

Early Pioneer-Helen Stockbridge

In the early years of the 20th century women were the clerks, secretaries, librarians, educators and research workers in the forest service. It is in these types of duties that women began building the administrative infrastructure of the Forest Service. Their work streamlined processes, expanded documentation and history of various forest regions. As educators, they informed the public about the forest service and taught conservation practices to schools and clubs. The researchers were tasked with cataloging new findings and interpreting data coming in from the field through reports and actual samples.

During her time at the Forest Service, Helen Stockbridge served as the Director of the Forest Service Library from 1904 to 1933. As director, she expanded the forest service resource library more than 4X its initial size of 3,000 items to hold a wide array of over 13,000 different materials. She accumulated a diverse base of literature and created 137 branch libraries in all the forest supervisor offices throughout the U.S.

The National Forest Service Library

Not merely a collector and curator, Helen Stockbridge also wrote, reviewed, and edited many bibliographies, field manuals, and research documents. Her important perspective as a woman in the writing of this material certainly factored into the decisions and actions on conservation taken by personnel out in the field and in leadership roles (who were in nearly all cases, men).

Now known as The National Forest Service Library, the department provides a wealth of knowledge and easy access to databases, bibliographies, and scientific research that members of the Forest Service use to analyze historical trends, do important research, and develop new forest product technologies.

Early Pioneer-Hallie M. Daggett

Hallie Daggett-Fire Lookout

While women were employed at the Forest Service since the early 20th century, they did not take on roles that involved field work. That all changed with Ms. Hallie Morse Daggett.

Field work in the Forest Service included jobs like fire lookout. This person is assigned to watch for wildfires and/or signs of wildfires in the many regional forest areas around the United States. They occupy a building known as a fire lookout tower. These towers are typically located on mountain summits to provide a proper vantage point over large areas. They are very often in remote areas of forest region that are difficult to get to and difficult to supply. The harsh weather, mountainous terrain, and remote isolation were all part of the assignment that the lookouts had to endure in order to carry out their duties.

In the early 20th century, the job of a fire lookout was thought only appropriate for men of the Forest Service. However, Hallie M. Daggett proved them all wrong.

Employed as the first female fire lookout, she took on the role and flourished. She started as a lookout in 1913 and was based in California within the Klamath National Forest, specifically at Eddy’s Gulch lookout station on Klamath Peak.

Eddy Gulch Lookout Station

Getting the job was no easy task and after much perseverance and persistence, the Forest Service opened the position to her as an experiment of sorts. This she knew as she pointedly remarked once in an interview, “…thanks to the liberal mindedness and courtesy of the officials in charge of our district, I was given the position of lookout…with a firm determination to make good, for I knew that the appointment of a woman was rather in the nature of an experiment, and naturally felt that there was a great deal due the men who had been willing to give me the chance”. Hallie M. Daggett went on to serve as a fire lookout for more than 14 seasons in the Klamath National Forest. She is the most famous female fire lookout in the history of the Forest Service. Her story and history broke the mold and inspired many women to seek out field work in the U.S. Forest Service

Women in Forestry-Milestones

  • 1913 – First Female Fire Lookout – Hallie M. Daggett
  • 1957 – First Female Forester hired – JoAnne G. McElfresh
  • 1979 – First District Ranger – Wendy Milner Herret
  • 1985 – First Forest Supervisor – Geri B. Larson
  • 1991 – First Director of a Forest Research Station – Barbara C. Weber
  • 2002 – First Chief Operating Officer – Sally Collins
  • 2007 – First Chief of the Forest Service – Abigail R. Kimball

All these firsts are important, these women and many others that work day-to-day in a diverse array of jobs deserve the acknowledgement and recognition for their invaluable contributions to the U.S.F.S., the forest sciences, and the industries that work with the Service.

To be sure, there is still more work to be done. These stories and milestones are just a small sampling of the stories of women in the Forest Service. A project started by Dr. Rachel Kline, a USFS historian, called HerStory at the United States Forest Service is designed to commemorate and recover the history of women in the Service. The project is focused on providing an oral history and perspective through recorded interviews with women who have served in the Service, and women who are currently working in Service. Please check out the interviews and great stories and help us at Nature’s Packaging to celebrate women this March in Women’s History Month.

Women In Wood

TIL – The Women In Wood Group

In the field or in the office, women are a positive force in forestry

Women are an integral part of the forest and forest products eco-system. Their impact in every area, from science to recreation, to corporate and government, has propelled the forest and wood industries to new places and perspectives.

In this post we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, Nature’s Packaging has reached out to the Women In Wood Network to learn more about their history, why they came together and what the future holds for women in wood.  

Please explain what Women In Wood is and how the group came about.

Women in Wood (WIW) is a network for women who work in, with and for the woods. It brings together passionate women from around the world to share their love for forests. Through a private Facebook group, Twitter, Instagram, our website, blog, newsletter, and LinkedIn group, it helps women find mentors, seek career advice, and meet other passionate women in the forest sector.

We met because, at the time – more than 10 years ago – we were often among the only young women at forestry events and conferences. We joke that we were united by never having to wait in line for the bathroom.

For years, we talked about starting a “rebuttal to the old boys club” and decided to make it official in 2016 by creating a private Facebook group for women we knew in the forest sector.

Although we both have had excellent and encouraging male colleagues, we recognized that there was definitely room for more women around the table. At that time, we added the 20 or so women we knew, and it just started growing.

The group now has 2,200 women from all over the world. It turned out that there was a gap to be filled, and women really appreciated having a safe space to go to for support and comradery.

*Please note-the Facebook group is reserved for women only, but the rest of their social media is open to all.

Can you elaborate on the 3 objectives listed on the Women In Wood website and how they guide the group and members in networking and collaborating with each other?

Our objectives are:

1. Build a community of women who work with, in and for the woods. This happens mostly in the private Facebook group. Not a day goes by without several posts from women sharing job opportunities, asking for advice or encouraging one another. We have also had many events – both in person, and more recently, virtual – for men and women to network and share stories.

2. Encourage women to pursue careers in the forest, wood and related sectors. Our blog and social media have featured many inspiring Women in Wood over the years – from the first female forester in Ontario to students about to the enter the field. Many students in the group report that seeing the success of and getting insight from women already in the sector has encouraged them. We even had an event sound technician’s young daughter who listened in at a panel event follow up with one of the panelists about how to pursue a career in forestry!

3. Help Women in Wood succeed in their career goals by collaborating for success, sharing information, improving skills, and navigating the workplace. This also happens through lots of sharing within the group, and we have had some skill-building webinars recently, delivered to WIW by other WIW. It’s really something to see a WIW pose a question, for example, about how or if to negotiate a salary, and see more than 50 other women respond with their experience and advice. That’s the power of a network!

What are some of the recent events that Women In Wood have created or participated in that bring women in the industry together?

During COVID, we’ve had several virtual get-togethers, and a few learning webinars – preparing for interviews, for example. We’ve also been having WIW Chats on our Insta channel, giving insight into the roles and pathways of various WIW. We are grateful to have had many opportunities to speak to groups and at events about the evolution of WIW. The conversations that follow are always rewarding.

What are the different ways that women are creating leadership roles for themselves in forest industries today?

We’re seeing more and more women in leadership in the forest sector, but there’s definitely still progress to be made. One of the most powerful ways to inspire women is to have other women who are in leadership share their stories and advice on how to work up to leadership positions. When you see women leading, it inspires you.

What is the role of a mentor in the Women In Wood network?

We don’t have a formal mentorship program, but mentor/mentee relationships have developed organically through the relationships built in the group. There’s a good mix of women new to the sector, middle-career, late career and retirees. It can mean so much to just have someone to chat with who may have had a similar experience as you, but is on the other end and can offer you what they learned.

What is the most common path today for women to enter the forest industry workforce? How has that changed over the last several years?

Lately, many forestry and related programs (degree and technical) are reporting impressive numbers, with great representation from women. This is quite a shift from even 15 years ago.

The key will be ensuring these women successfully navigate getting their first jobs and finding employers who will continue to support them early in their careers. A challenge many WIW report is “falling behind” their male counterparts when they take time off to have a family or not being given the same training or growth opportunities.

We are seeing many more women as foresters, technicians and other woodland roles, but still limited representation in mills, trucking and logging. There also seems to be a lot of variance geographically, and some companies have made major strides to encourage and successfully recruit women in the mill environment.

Where did the idea of the Women In Wood logo origination from?

We wanted a logo that was fun but powerful. We really left it to our graphic designer to come up with what would represent WIW, but hoped to have an image that would empower women and rally women together.

We think we have achieved that, as our logo is not only high in demand (our t-shirt sales speak for themselves!) but also well recognized. We can’t tell you how many times we have gone to events (pre-covid) and see women wearing the shirt with pride. It does exactly what we had hoped for – bring women together.

*Answers written by Lacey Rose and Jessica Kaknevicius

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