[Alumni News]

Hank Kashdan

Reaching the Top Ranks at the Forest Service

Photo Courtesy Cynthia Whelan

HUMBOLDT STATE ALUM HANK Kashdan (‘73) has been named associate chief for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service based in Washington, D.C.

Kashdan, a journalism graduate, has been with the Forest Service since 1973, when his career track took a turn away from the field he had studied.

“When I graduated I went to a trade school for heavy equipment and surveying, and that’s what got me in to the Forest Service, but the journalism experience really set my career in motion,” Kashdan says.

“I work with a lot of engineers and scientists who write very dense stuff and often very linearly, so communication skills have definitely helped me.”

Kashdan quickly moved from surveying crews to the management track and bounced from station to station including stops in Washington state, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Sacramento, Calif., and, for the last 14 years, Washington D.C.

As second in command at the U.S. Forest Service, Kashdan says his role is to serve as the alter ego to the department’s head and act as a spokesman for the mission of the Forest Service to improve the productivity of America’s forests and wild grasslands for current and future generations.

Kashdan also offers a few tips for students interested in joining the service as a career.

“To get into the Forest Service today, you have to have patience and be flexible about where you want to live and get involved with the competitive internships you find on campus. The process for getting into the career track really hasn’t changed that much in three decades.”

“For me, it’s been 36 years and I still love the Forest Service.”