Laura discusses how she came to work in a mill, and what she enjoys about her job.

Julia Petersen -


In the spirit of total utilization of the tree - pine shavings from the mill are consolidated into forty pound bags and sold for livestock bedding. Laura has been part of this operation for eleven years. Filling, sealing, and stacking are all part of the process and she knows the blueprint for each task.


Married thirty-one years to a third generation rancher, Laura started part-time on the night shift to secure health insurance for her family. Ranching generally doesn’t come with health care benefits.

These days Laura is full-time day shift and a lead employee in this department. She likes the order and pace of her job and how the bagging process flows. Predictability and teamwork are cornerstones of this gal’s work ethic.

womens work laura fan

Mixing it up…

Laura lands on an interesting observation when it comes to balancing strengths and weaknesses in the workplace. She advocates mixing up the schedule with a diversity of age and gender in her department. In her experience it offers an opportunity for employees to learn from each other, and it seems to reduce drama.


Self-described as shy, Laura wasn’t sure this job would be a fit – but she did it anyway. The result was a newfound confidence.

“I have grown a lot,” Laura says, and she recommends that every woman try her hand at a job that might be out of her comfort zone. “It’s not for everyone but it might be for you - and you won’t know unless you try.”

Author’s Note: I am looking for more women to interview who work in trade and non-traditional roles. If you or someone you know would like to talk with me you can contact me at julia@evergreenmagazine.com – Attention: Women’s Work.

All photos - copyright Julia Petersen, 2019