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Departments    Forest Engineering, Resources & Management | Forest Ecosystems & Society | Wood Science & Engineering
100 Faces of Forestry
Pablo Crespell

Pablo Crespell

Improving Innovation in the Forest Products Industry

Pablo Crespell, graduate student in wood science and engineering, came to the United States from Chile knowing that he would enjoy having a career in forestry. “My brother in law was a forester,” he comments, “He taught me a lot about it. We would go to picnics and we’d get to be out in nature, so I was very interested in that when I was a kid. Many would probably agree when I say that forestry is a career that makes it easy to get out and enjoy the outdoors.”

Originally coming to OSU to obtain a PhD in genetics, Crespell was invited to forest science by Glenn Howe. “I switched to wood science once I got here. In terms of picking a university at which to study, Oregon State is very well known in Chile, so it was either OSU or North Carolina State in Raleigh. Since I already got a master’s there, it seemed like a good decision to come to Oregon State for my PhD.”

Crespell’s work primarily concerns innovation in the forest products industry. “My research relates to how an encouraging work climate is related to innovation and performance in the industry,” he says, “It’s psychology-oriented. As part of the study, a survey was sent out to forest products companies all over the US, and we received over 200 responses. When those responses are compared to the work climate of each respondent, we can see that there is a positive relationship between climate, innovativeness, and financial performance.”

So what makes a good work climate? Crespell explains that it’s defined by several things, including “Allowance of autonomy, openness to change, and support from committed management who can lead the way. Innovation is important to the industry, and so I expect that people will take notice of the factors that lead to a climate that encourages innovation. In the big picture, the more innovative a company is, the larger its financial resources grow.”

Pablo’s career path will lead him to Canada in the near future, where he has accepted a job with Forintek doing consulting work on the topic of innovation as related to marketing and economics. “These days, you have to integrate marketing issues into every kind of research. Soft issues, like those I studied while preparing my doctorate, are becoming more important. Our industry is very traditional and very conservative, so it’s a good thing we’re looking to innovation and what it takes to be innovative.”

Asked about his experience at the College of Forestry, Crespell says that he enjoyed everything that OSU had to offer him. “The whole learning experience was great for me. I’m very interested in psychology so it was great to be able to take courses in that area and in education. My advisor, Eric Hansen, has been very supportive and always tries to take us a step further.” Corvallis has also treated him well. “I’ve really enjoyed living in this city. It’s been a great place to raise my daughters.”

Bio of Pablo Crespell written by Bryan Bernart, Editorial Assistant, Forestry Communications Group, College of Forestry

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