Retirement Announcement!

Jim Foerster started retirement on 1 January 2019.

Jim, 2015 Jim Foerster, Biological Science Technician at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Lab (NWISRL), Kimberly, ID, has retired on 31 December 2018 after 31 years of federal government service.  Jim has worked as a technician at the NWISRL for the following scientists:  Rick Lentz (2016-2018), Gary Lehrsch (2009-2017), Dave Bjorneberg (2008), and Bob Sojka (1991-2007), and at the USDA, ARS, Citrus and Subtropical Products Research Laboratory, Winter Haven, FL, for Bob Baker (1989-1990) and Joe Brummer (1987-1988) and as a laboratory aide at the USDA, ARS, Metabolism and Radiation Research Laboratory (MRRL), Fargo, ND, for Dr. John Reineke (1976-1980).  Jim followed in his father's footsteps — Art Foerster made his career as a federal government employee as an Electronics Maintenance Technician for the Federal Aviation Administration at Hector International Airport in Fargo, ND.

Jim's parents, Art & Mary Jim was born to Art & Mary (left), and raised in Fargo, ND where the winters are long and cold.  Jim received a Bachelor of Science degree, with a horticulture major, from the College of Agriculture at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 1981 and can remember winters walking barefoot to college in the deep snow with temperatures in the minus twenties [okay, the barefoot part was made up] and during a blizzard he even cross country skied into work at the MRRL.  He worked at a local landscaping nursery for a few years before deciding to move some place warmer.  Jim chose to look for jobs in Florida while visiting some friends one winter.  After a long day searching for nurseries, and submitting resumes and applications, he turned his vehicle around in a long driveway to go home and he noticed that there was a US government building behind him.  He went in thinking that there might be a government job board with job openings posted and started talking to the gentleman behind the counter.  It turned out that the man was a scientist filling in for an absent receptionist.  He told Jim that he had just received an $80,000 grant for research and was looking to hire 3 technicians and he gave Jim an impromptu interview and told him to send in the paperwork.  Jim started his employment as a technician with the ARS a couple of months later.  Touring the botanical gardens, canoeing clear streams, and hiking in Florida's subtropical parks was a joy for a horticulturist but the summers in FL were very long, hot, and humid.  After almost 4 years Jim started looking for a job somewhere in the northwest where the climate was milder than either of the climates of ND or FL.

Bob Sojka Rick Lentz Jim recalls "I applied for the job in Kimberly, ID, and received a phone interview with Bob Sojka (left) for the position.  I didn't recognize his name, but Bob noticed from my transcript that I had taken a soils class while at NDSU and he asked me if I remembered the name of the instructor.  I told him that I didn't remember the name but that it was an odd name.  Sojka, not thinking that his name was odd, asked if it was Zubriski, the name of the other soils instructor and I remembered that name, so I told him that it was probably Zubriski.  After being accepted for the position in Kimberly, ID, on my way moving there, after picking up old college class notes at home, I noticed the name of my soils instructor at the top of an exam and wouldn't you know it, it was Bob Sojka!  So, my boss for 16 years at the NWISRL was my college soils instructor!  And his name isn't odd at all.  But what was odd was that for the first year of employment at the NWISRL, I did not meet my boss because he was on a one year sabbatical in New Zealand.  For that first year I worked for Rick Lentz (right) and I ended my career at the NWISRL, again working for Rick.

Jim has enjoyed his career at ARS where he was junior author on 5 published manuscripts and received numerous superior and at least one outstanding performance awards and has assisted 7 scientists in publishing countless manuscripts [not really countless, I'm just too lazy to count them].  Jim will continue to reside in Twin Falls, ID and has plans to travel/camp/hike to many places in the U.S.A. and maybe even travel to other countries.  His hobbies will include bike riding, camping, hiking, photographing nature, rock-hounding, selling part of his rock collection on eBay, Burning Man, and attending many music festivals and concerts, or what ever I feel like doing.

For more information about Jim's really cool work history, click here.


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