Many Talents, Many Hats

By Karen Gerner

A retired employee of the USDA Forest Service, John Youngquist is well-known for his pioneering research on wood-based composite products. John now owns and operates a consulting business, focusing on the areas of engineering, natural resources, and grant writing. His experience and expertise are in technical assistance and grant writing for small businesses, non-profits, and state and federal agencies. John has much to offer his diverse clients.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, he earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and is a Professional Engineer. John has also spent several college course hours in Law, Statistics, Advanced Calculus, and Business Management. His professional career has included working with both the private and public sectors.

"I worked for Ray-O-Vac Corporation as a Technical Manager, Quality Control Manager, and then as Assistant Plant Manager before coming to the Forest Products Laboratory as a Research Project Leader in the wood-based composite area."

John is an unassuming person and doesn’t like to talk about his awards but I found out that he has received numerous awards throughout his Forest Service history. He received the USDA Superior Service Award in 1982, 1995, 1996, 1998, and 2001! He was awarded the Outstanding Federal Supervisor of the Year in 1991 and Forest Service Engineering Manager of the Year in 1993. The Chief of the Forest Service recognized him in 1999 with an award for Technology Transfer. His list of awards goes on and on.

"My work at the Forest Products Laboratory involved research in the processing and performance of wood-based composite products of all types. I was the Team Leader for research on new and unique veneer, strand, particle, and fiber composites and on processing technology for recycling waste wood, agricultural fibers, and paper fiber not suitable for conversion back into paper into alternative composite products."

Part of John’s research program involved developing new technologies to convert blends of waste wood fiber and waste plastics into valued-added interior and exterior products. He also built a state-of-the-art wood/plastic-processing lab during his time at the Forest Products Lab. "I am very familiar with the chemistry, the processing, and the marketing of wood fiber/plastic materials, components, and products."

For several years, he has served as a grant reviewer and sat on panels of experts who review grants and make accept/reject decisions on submitted grants. Recently, John has been working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. "I just completed an assignment as a forum moderator for a grant-focused website for their Forest Products Division."

As a part of this project, John wrote the following series of short papers:

• Information on Writing Proposals
• Forming partnerships and networking as a way to enhance your grant success
• Help and Advice for Grant Seekers
• Funding Agencies and Organizations
• How to Approach a Funding Source
• Searching for a Scholarship

In 2004, John served as a co-editor and wrote several chapters of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Forest Sciences. For 8 years, he has served as a technical consultant and marketing specialist for a New Mexico company who has launched a new woodfiber/plastic composite product.

John says "I now find myself more and more involved in conducting research, assisting, or fully developing grant proposals for targeted funding initiatives. I have had lots of experience in networking, coordinating, and partnering with various organizations and would very much like to continue working in these areas."

John specializes in

• Locating sources of funding from private foundations and state and federal government sources that meet specific client needs
• Contacting/working with program officers to ensure that the written grant is in strict accordance with program requirements
• Writing grants in cooperation with client representatives
• Following-up with granting agencies to ensure that the submitted grant is in accordance with the goals and objectives of the funding source
• Teaching/Training clients to write grants

To see a sampling of his numerous publications, Search on Google under "John A. Youngquist"

Currently John has two residences—one in Wisconsin and the other in Arizona. John also likes to squeeze in some hunting and fishing between in his projects. He is an avid fisherman and likes it best up in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.