Like many military veterans, Justin Reichardt had many choices when it came to new civilian jobs. But after his service with the U.S. Marine Corps, he wanted more than a menial-level job; he wanted a career with the chance to grow his skill sets. That is why he chose the wood industry.

Many vets like Justin have discovered that the wood industry appreciates the valuable traits possessed by U.S. veterans, including:

  • Doing your job well and taking pride in your work.
  • Being punctual and ready to do your part as a team.
  • Finishing your full shift with your eyes on the goal.
  • Taking ownership and responsibility for your work.
  • Keeping a positive attitude for yourself and your team.

Wood industry employers like C.R. Onsrud values these skills, which is why they hired Justin as their Service and Applications Technician. We took the time to talk to Justin, so he could answer some questions about his transition from the Marines to a wood industry job.

Why did you decide to get into the wood industry?

I decided to get into the wood industry because of the variety and diversity. There are so many different areas to work in. The industry offers everything, from commercial cabinets to handcrafted furniture to architectural millwork — even museum displays. You can find whatever interests you in the wood world.

How did your military experience prepare you for a career in the wood industry?

I found that my experience as a Marine Corps Aircraft Ordnance Technician helped me to transition into my role as a Service and Applications Technician with C.R. Onsrud by giving me a solid foundation in problem solving and attention to detail. In the aviation world, tiny details can make the difference between a safe aircraft and an unsafe one. Similarly, in the wood industry, the tiny details can make the difference between excellent craftsmanship and a substandard product.

What do you enjoy most about your career in the wood industry?

The thing that I love most about having a career in the wood industry is learning something new every day. There is always something new to learn — be it new production and assembly methods — or little details, like how different species of wood react to different cutting methods.

"The thing that I love most about having a career in the wood industry is learning something new every day."

What is most fulfilling about your career in the wood industry?

The most fulfilling thing about my career in the wood industry is seeing the hard work that goes into even the most commonplace objects we encounter every day. There’s a story behind every desk, chair or cabinet. And I get to help make it a reality.

You too can succeed in the wood industry

Just as you worked hard to move up in military rank, opportunities exist in the wood industry to advance from entry-level shop worker to team supervisor and beyond. Justin’s transition to a civilian career began with the right training that he was able to acquire on the job while earning a paycheck. There is a new world of job opportunities in the wood industry, and most can train you with the skills you need for good pay.

The Wood Industry Resource Collaborative (WIRC) partners with wood trade associations to provide online resources to help you find job opportunities and training in your area. Start exploring your options for building a civilian future.