Alumni Updates

Rick Meilan, 1983
Submitted: May 14, 2023
Bill Bigg died on 13 April 2023. He was hired as a professor by the Forestry Department at HSU in 1979 (retired in 2007). He taught several courses in Forestry, including Tree Physiology, Tree Improvement, and Regional Silviculture. Bill also taught courses in a variety of other departments. He was respected and admired by his students for his knowledge, lecturing style, fairness, sense of humor, and approachability. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his wife, Donna, who faithfully assisted Bill in all aspects of his life. Donna can be contacted at

Rita Carman, 1978
Submitted: May 5, 2023
Carman graduated from HSU in 1978 with a degree in Forestry Science and a minor in Geology and worked for the USGS Water Resources in Carson City, Nevada, from 1979 to 1998 as a Hydrologist. She then went on to Nevada State from 1998 to 2016. She has been happily retired since 2016, is involved in the community, and a member of the Carson City Kiwanis since 1991. Living the good life!

Diane Haase, 1989
Submitted: April 10, 2022
Haase ('89, Forestry) earned her M.S. in tree physiology at OSU in 1991. She then worked as the Associate Director of OSU's Nursery Technology Cooperative, researching seedling production, quality and outplanting. She now works for the USDA Forest Service as the Western Nursery Specialist on the national Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetics Resources team ( Diane provides technical support to forest and conservation nurseries in the western states and the American-affiliated Pacific islands through visits, publications, conferences and more. She also serves as the editor of Tree Planters' Notes, an applied journal for those who work in nurseries, reforestation and restoration.

Barbara Scaroni, 1978
Submitted: March 5, 2022

Barbara Scaroni has managed to stay a dirt forester over the many years. Scaroni is still out marking and cruising timber, administering timber sales, running property lines, and writing environmental assessments, timber sale contracts, and researching the land use history of my timber sale areas. During college, Scaroni worked summers for the BLM in Ukiah, CA; Missoula, MT; Rawlins, WY; and Susanville, CA. Scaroni worked USFS in Cave Junction, OR, and Willows CA. Scaroni had permanent jobs after graduation with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs 1980-1990; Malheur National Forest, Burns, OR, 1990-1993; Coeur d'Alene Tribe, 1993-present.

Bill Ramos, 1980
Submitted: January 9, 2021

Bill Ramos has been re-elected to his second term as Representative in the Washington State House.

Tyler Smurr, 1995
Submitted: December 11, 2020

Tyler Smurr worked for Sierra Pacific Industries for two years after graduation and then moved to Texas to get married and start a family. He went back to school and got his masters in Education Leadership and Policy Studies. He is currently a Vice Principal at an Elementary school in San Antonio, Texas.

Michael Tuffly, 1988
Submitted: December 11, 2020

Tuffly got a BS in Forestry in 1988 and a MS in Natural Resources in 1995 both from HSU. He has worked for various State, Federal, and NGO’s over the years. He completed a Ph.D. in Forest Science from Colorado State University in 2012. He has his own consulting business ERIA Consultants, LLC and lives is Boulder, Colorado. He consults to private and public entities all over the world on forest carbon sequestration, wildfire mitigation and assessment, and various wildlife habitat enhancements. For the past ten years he has been climbing 14,000+ foot peaks in Colorado with two other HSU alumni.

Tyler Smurr, 1995
Submitted: August 7, 2020

Tyler Smurr, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1995, was recently promoted to Vice Principal for an elementary school in San Antonio, Texas.

David E. Howell, 1974
Submitted: May 8, 2020

David Howell, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1974, served in the U.S. Air Force active duty for four years and flew in Phantom F-4C, D, and E primarily out of George Air Force Base. He retired from career civil service after 37 years of active duty with the Bureau of Land Management. Howell's duty stations included, Susanville, California, Roseburg, Oregon, Ukiah, California, Hollister, California, Washington D.C. Headquarters, Vernal, Utah, and Anchorage, Alaska. Positions included entry level Forester, Natural Resource Specialist, Area Manager, District Manager, Branch Chief and Deputy State Director for Resources.

Michael M O'Boyle, June 1971
Submitted: February 14, 2020

Michael O'Boyle, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1971, spent 16 years with the USDA Soil Conservation Service, and ended up as a district conservationist. He then served in New Mexico and California. Afterward, O'Boyle completed 20 years with the Madera County Animal Control Department in California, retiring in 2010.

Janelle Thompson, 1993
Submitted: January 13, 2020

In 2019, after 28 years with the U.S. Forest Service in a position as a timber sale administrator, Janelle Thompson, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1993, was promoted to Tahoe National Forest, Sierraville Ranger District Timber Management Officer. Thompson began her career in 1987 as a temporary employee on the timber marking crew at Sierraville. She received a permanent career appointment in 1991 as a forester with an emphasis in timber sale administration. During the last 20 years she has also worked as a support dispatcher (EDSD) for major wildland fires and other incidents across the United States. September of 2022 Thompson will be eligible to retire with over 31 years with the U.S. Forest Service.

Tyler Smurr, 1995
Submitted: January 1, 2020

Tyler Smurr, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1995, worked for Sierra Pacific Industries after graduating from Humboldt State but then met a girl and followed her to Texas. He taught middle school science for 14 years, and is currently an Assistant Principal for a San Antonio Middle School. Smurr says he uses his experience at Humboldt State to talk to students about finding the right place for them and seeing the beauty in the world.

William Chilson, 1967
Submitted: December 29, 2019

For the past 10 years, William Chilson, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1967 has been working in the renewable energy industry with a focus on development of utility scale power plants. His current position is Director of Siting and Real Estate with Candela Renewables. Candela Renewables develops solar power plants throughout the United States.

John R. Hawkins, 1969
Submitted: December 20, 2019

John Hawkins, Upland, 1969, retired from CAL FIRE in December 2018 after serving 55 fire seasons and finishing his career for the last 12 years as the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit/Riverside County Fire Department Fire Chief. Hawkins commanded many of California's major fires over his career, served as a Type 1 Incident Commander on 3 teams and an Operations Section Chief on a federal Type 1 team. Hawkins was recognized as a Certified Fire Chief and graduated from the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. He is living in SoCal and working part-time as a Wildland Fire Consultant for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Drew Coe, 1996
Submitted: December 20, 2019

Drew Coe, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1996, began working in the forest industry following graduation. After several years he returned to school, graduating with a MS in Watershed Science from Colorado State University. Coe currently works as the Forest Practice Monitoring Coordinator/Hydrologist in CALFIRE's Watershed Protection Program. He lives with his wife and two children in Redding, California.

Kaelie Pena, 2017
Submitted: December 20, 2019

Kaelie Pena, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 2017, converted to a full-time permanent position with the Forest Service upon graduating and is coming up on her two year anniversary as a Rangeland Management Specialist with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the Bridgeport Ranger District.

Anthony Erba, 1987
Submitted: July 9, 2019

After nearly 33 years of federal government service, Anthony Erba, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1987, has retired from the USDA Forest Service to Northern Wisconsin. His last position was as Regional Director (Eastern Region) overseeing environmental planning, litigation, and landscape-scale conservation (lasting 8.5 years). Anthony's career spanned all four organizational levels of the Forest Service, located on six national forests, one national grassland, one region, and the Washington Office.

Never in his wildest dreams would he have been able to predict his career when he graduated in 1987. Anthony is grateful for his experience at HSU, providing him the awareness needed to recognize career opportunities whenever they popped up.

Ron Miller, 1983
Submitted: June 22, 2019

Ron Miller, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1983, recently retired after 35 years of government service as a forester. Last year, in celebration of retirement, he walked the French route of the 500-mile Camino de Santiago across northern Spain starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and walking to Santiago, Spain. He completed the pilgrimage on June 3, 2018.

Gene Blankenbaker, 1977
Submitted: November 7, 2018

Gene Blankenbaker, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1977, is retiring in January 2019 after over 41 years of service with the federal government. He spent approximately 2 years with the U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resource Division as a groundwater hydrologist, and over 39 years with the U.S. Forest Service in a variety of locations in California, Washington D.C., Arizona, Wisconsin and New Mexico, in positions that included hydrologist, forester, district ranger, forest supervisor, deputy regional forester, and deputy director of human resources for the agency.

Thomas F. Wuenschell, 1974
Submitted: October 31, 2018

Thomas F. Wuenschell, Forestry & Wildland Resources, 1974, studied Forestry 1972-1974 at Humboldt and got his BS in Idaho later. He retired in 2016 as a forester after more than 30 years with USFS. He has always been a supporter of Save The Redwoods League and is currently on board of directors of his Audubon chapter.