Planting the seed…
Tonya started working at the mill in 2004, “It’s been interesting,” she says laughing. One summer she took a job, working with a seasoned forester – and things evolved from there. Now she is a full-time forestry tech and works closely with Neiman foresters. She is responsible for running boundary lines, making maps, and producing layouts for sales.
An important aspect of Tonya’s job is to work with private landowners. As a liaison, she fine tunes what private forest owners want from their land in contract with Neiman Enterprises. This requires a working knowledge of land management guidelines – and related policies.
Unassuming and soft-spoken, Tonya is the definition of still waters run deep. She shares that she has learned to speak up for herself. The male dominated workforce has brought out her moxie. She reflects that success is self-driven and echoes a sentiment from Susan, it’s about how you treat others, “Reciprocity gains mutually exclusive benefits.”
“There is a lot of work for women in non-traditional roles. I like what I do because I have a lot of freedom, I am constantly challenged, and the job is different every day.”
Tonya lives across the road from the mill. She reflects on how quickly the lines between work and community quickly become blurred in such a small town. “We are very much a part of Hulett and the surrounding area, there is a collective response to the needs of the community. I really love it here.”
When asked what advice she would offer young women considering non-traditional employment opportunities – she does not hesitate, ”Go for it, don’t let the differences stop you.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org – Attention: Women’s Work.
All photos – copyright Julia Petersen, 2019