Spring 2013

The Jacobszoons

A Three Generation Forestry Family

When Sam Jacobszoon (’14, Forest Soils) graduates from HSU next year, he’ll become a third generation Lumberjack, and also the third member of his family to have earned a Forestry degree from Humboldt State.
Sam’s father, Randy, graduated with a degree in Forestry Economics in 1982. His grandfather, Dow, graduated in 1970 with a degree in Forestry Management.

the three jacobszoonLeft to Right: Randy (’82, forestry Economics), Dow (’70, forestry Management) and Sam Jacobszoon (’14, forestry Soils).

The Jacobszoon family legacy began in the late 1960s when Dow learned of Humboldt State from his brother-in-law, Jim Culver, a Forestry Management major from the class of 1960. “I visited him a couple times in Arcata. I got to thinking, ‘Well, maybe I’d be better off doing that,’” recalls Dow, who was a parts salesman at a car dealership in Southern California. “Being out in the woods seemed a whole lot better than being in an office building.”

Nearly 30 years later, that sentiment is what drew his grandson to HSU. After graduating from high school, Sam spent a few years working at a ski resort and as a river guide in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. When it came time to choose a career path, he was looking for something that would provide financial stability and also allow him to be outdoors.

Because both his father and grandfather pursued careers in logging, forestry seemed a natural choice.

“Ever since I was a kid my dad would take me out with him on the job site,” Sam says. “There are other forestry programs, but HSU foresters seem to have a better grasp of where they’re going.”

Sam’s father, Randy, came to a similar conclusion when he chose Humboldt State in the 1980s. “There are only three forestry schools in California and it made the most sense to be near redwoods on the North Coast.”

HSU’s commitment to hands-on learning was a big draw for all three Jacobszoon men. The university’s proximity to the Arcata Community Forest, private and public rangelands and acres of state and national forests make it a prime location for forestry classes. “All your labs are here on campus,” says Randy. “It doesn’t get much better.”

Since graduating from HSU in 1970 and 1982 respectively, both Dow and Randy have maintained a strong connection to Humboldt State. Dow visited his son when he was a student on campus and recently returned to Arcata for his college reunion.

Randy is heavily involved in the Redwood Region Logging Conference, an annual conference that provides financial support to natural resource programs and California forestry students. Every year, many of the most qualified scholarship candidates come from Humboldt State, Randy says. “HSU students have that hands-on experience that sets them apart from the rest.”

In fact, Randy credits Humboldt State for laying the foundation for his own forestry career. The education he earned at HSU helped him establish his own consulting business in 1995—Jacobszoon and Associates—which he manages today.

Dow also credits HSU for him giving the skills he needed to succeed as a professional forester. After graduating in 1972, he began working for Georgia Pacific, a lumber company at the time. He continued working as a resource manager until his retirement several years ago.

As for Sam, he is considering a stint conducting soils research with the Peace Corps. Eventually, he would like to join the private sector as a forester, like his father and grandfather. “When you’re 18, nobody wants to be like their parents,” he says. But with two generations before him, he’s come to see the positive aspects of a forestry career.