Theodore Arthur Peterson
Inducted October 2, 2019
For nearly 40 years, Dr. Theodore Arthur Peterson developed applied solutions for the forest products industry. He provided dedicated service to a diverse clientele utilizing new emerging technology. His work with Wisconsin companies, the National Wood Products Extension Program, and the Sawmill Improvement Program continue to pay dividends today.
More about Theodore Arthur Peterson:
Theodore (Ted) Peterson was a professor of Forestry specializing in wood utilization at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
He worked closely with Wisconsin and national wood-using industries, especially through associations, in educational programming. He conducted specific courses at the request of the industry on topics of need such as lumber drying, process improvement, and maintenance. He also conducted lumber grading short courses for more than 20 years. As a companion to the lumber grading short courses, Ted authored and published the Hardwood Lumber Inspection Manual for the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA). The NHLA is the largest wood industry association in the United States and sets the grading rules for grading North American hardwood lumber. These rules are the standard for North American hardwood lumber in markets across the globe. The manual is still in use today by the NHLA’s Hardwood Lumber Inspection School in Memphis and in lumber grading courses offered throughout the United States, including Wisconsin.
At time of his retirement, Ted was Program Leader of National Wood Products Extension Program at the Forest Products Laboratory under a cooperative agreement with Federal Extension, UW- Extension, and the Forest Products Laboratory. The program mission was to utilize the national Extension network, in collaboration with Forest Service efforts, in technology transfer of forest products research information. This program ran from 1981 to 1992. Program efforts have embraced the potential of emerging electronic technologies for information processing, access, and distribution to meet current and future needs of diverse client groups.
Ted was also a leader with the Sawmill Improvement Program, a sawmill technology transfer effort, working closely with the FPL to develop sawmill assessment tools such as lumber size process control and sawmill study procedure protocols for increasing lumber recovery by improving sawmill conversion efficiency. These tools included Ted’s earlier R&D work to adapt Statistical Quality Control techniques such Shewhart Control Charts for the sawmill industry for controlling sloppy sawmilling practices such as thick and thin lumber. The Sawmill Improvement Program was implemented across the United States benefitting thousands of companies.
Ted also provided training for the experts. Many states employ a wood products specialist to work with the state’s forest products industry. Ted trained many of these specialists to help implement the Sawmill Improvement Program.