Forest Products Laboratory and Northern Research Station Welcome New Director

Forest Service Chief Victoria Christiansen on Monday named Dr. Cynthia “Cindi” West Director of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and Northern Research Station (NRS).

Dr. West replaces Tony Ferguson who retired from the Forest Service this past December after serving as Lab and Station Director for nearly four years. She officially starts her new job on Monday, February 15.

Dr. Cynthia West
Incoming FPL and NRS Station Director

“My career has been focused on creating a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren. The Forest Products Lab and Northern Research Station will play an important role in that future. I am excited to work with FPL and NRS employees, partners, and stakeholders to deliver the knowledge and technology to reach this vision,” explained West when asked about her transition to FPL and NRS.

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FPL Researcher Featured in Engineering News-Record

A rendering of the 25-story Ascent building currently under construction in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo credit: Korb + Associates
Laura Hasburgh
Building and Fire Sciences
Materials Research Engineer

Engineering News-Record recently featured Forest Products Laboratory’s (FPL) materials research engineer, Laura Hasburgh and her expert consultation on the Ascent construction project in Milwaukee. At 25 stories, the Ascent building is making history as the soon-to-be tallest timber building in the world. And because of its unprecedented height and exposed mass timber interior, Hasburgh was contacted to lend her fire testing expertise.

The top eighteen floors of the Ascent will be framed in mass timber and the interior architectural design features exposed glued-laminated timber (glulam) framing and cross-laminated timber (CLT) slabs to showcase the natural beauty of the wood. But with these design and material choices, the Ascent’s fire safety planning needed to be carefully considered.

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FPL Researcher Featured on National Public Radio

Brian Brashaw
Forest Products Marketing Unit
Program Manager

Forest Products Laboratory’s (FPL) Brian Brashaw was featured in an National Public Radio (NPR) segment about the soon-to-be world’s tallest timber building currently under construction in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Ascent building will boast 25 stories, 18 of which will be framed in mass timber. The upscale apartment complex is slated for completion in 2022. Right now, the cement foundation is being laid. Brashaw anticipates the Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) “to start flying,” or rather, construction crane hoisted pre-fabricated mass timber sections to begin installation in early summer 2021.  

FPL is excited about its participation in helping the Ascent rise among the tallest modern wood structures in the world.

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Forest Products Laboratory Featured in America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell – Courtesy of America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell

On October 21st, 2020, Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) director, Tony Ferguson, represented FPL in a panel discussion for the premier of the most recent episodes of America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell (AFCL). FPL was featured in a segment showcasing its long history of forest products research, testing, and innovation.

Tony Ferguson
FPL Director

Director Ferguson articulated that FPL has had a long history of being a champion in innovative land and forest use. The FPL segment of AFCL captured this message and the spirit of its history in a tantalizing, bite-sized featurette.  

The two 25-minute episodes, Wisconsin North and South, covered the scope and interconnected nature of Wisconsin’s forests and conservation work while giving a nod to FPL’s connection to it all.

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An Iconic Wisconsin Landmark Rises Again and Takes Flight: The Eagle Tower Project

The original Eagle Tower, erected in 1932 in Peninsula State Park – Photo Credit: Yinan Chen – Friends of the Peninsula State Park

If you live in Wisconsin, chances are that you at least know of Eagle Tower. More likely, you—along with thousands of visitors from around the world—have had indelible experiences of taking in spectacular views of Lake Michigan, the surrounding islands, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Eagle tower offered a captivating and much beloved panorama of Peninsula State Park.

Built in 1932, the observation tower was a 76-foot timber structure. But in 2015 the tower’s deteriorating state caused the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to have serious concerns about its structural integrity and safety. The Wisconsin DNR asked Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to assess the structure. “Nondestructive Assessment of Wood Members from a Historic Viewing Tower” is a detailed publication of their findings on Eagle Tower’s condition.

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