MY SHORT BIOGRAPHY
I was born in September of 1979 at the Portsmouth Naval hospital in the U.S. state of Virginia to a stay at home mother and a father who was an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy at the time. When I was very young my father was discharged from the service and they moved back to my mother's hometown of Wrenshall, in northern Minnesota, near Duluth. My grandfather (fathers dad) was in the U.S. Navy as well, so there were always books laying around that were nautical in nature. One of these books was a compilation of nautically related National Geographic articles and one of the articles was on the Swedish warship Vasa.
My parents had two more children (both girls) and started something of a hobby farm (even though they took it very seriously) near Wrenshall. They farmed partially in a very old fashioned way; with draft horses and turn of the 19th to 20th century or older farm equipment. (kind of like how Amish live) All the while my father held down a job as a boiler operator/mechanic at a nearby waste water treatment facility. Most times we basically had nothing in terms of money, largely because of my parents heavy investments in their farm. One thing that my parents did teach me, however, was how to work, even though I always thought that some of the things that they chose to put their efforts into were quite low in benefit return considering the incredibly physically hard work and massive amounts of time involved.
I received my high school education at Wrenshall High School. It was a very small institution where grades K-12 were in the same basic building, and average class size was something around 25 to 35 students. During my senior year I elected to use the PSEO (Post Secondary Enrollment Option) which was (maybe it still exists) an option for motivated high school students to go to college early on the states dime. For this I went to a local community college in a nearby town called Cloquet. (FDLTCC)
While I was at the community college I got involved in work study with the environmental department. This eventually led to a regular Federal job as a Soil Conservationist Trainee with the USDA-NRCS for a summer. While still attending the community college, and at age 19, I ended up landing a $25,000 scholarship agreement with the USDA-NRCS that would pay for the rest of my school if I focused my studies on soil science, and which guaranteed me a job with the Federal government in soil survey (one of the natural resources inventory branches of the USDA-NRCS) when I was done with school for as many years as they paid for my school.
Even though I was only 19 at the time, I saw it as an incredibly good deal. Especially considering that I did not come from a family with means. I saw it as an opportunity that I would probably never see the likes of again, so I happily took it. At about the same time my father was getting very ill and so I also saw that I needed to reduce my dependence on my family as much and as soon as possible. Further, I found this field of study more and more interesting as I got into it.
I continued at the community college in Cloquet until most of my generals were complete and I had received an Associates in Science degree in 2000.
While at the University of Minnesota I met my future wife Amy in an elective class that neither of us really needed to take, and our relationship started partially because of the prodding of a sorority girl (I was, I admit, in a frat; Amy was not involved directly in that scene) that thought we should date. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2002, earning an environmental science degree with a minor in soils.
I started my work as a mapper in St. Louis County, Minnesota (out of an office in Duluth) and continued that work for 5 years. It was very interesting, but both mentally and physically challenging due to the fact that in that job one is required to get into places in the woods that not many people go to, and make decisions based on landforms, geology, and soils at the same time. I married Amy in 2004 and we have been together since. While we lived in Duluth Amy successfully pursued a career as a Surgical Technician, a profession in which she still works. In late 2007 I got promoted to project leader in Pine County, Minnesota. I spent about two years in Pine and all the while was amazed at the geological variability in the surficial glacial deposits there. It is an area of a little less than 1 million acres (which is small compared to the approx. 5 million of St. Louis) and contains examples of most glacial landforms that can be found in northern Minnesota. While Pine was interesting, there wasn't much there for people/industry etc. and Amy had a hard time finding employment. So, in 2010 I applied for an MLRA leader job (Major Land Resource Area) in Albert Lea, Minnesota. This was another promotion and a job that I would likely have in that location for a long, long time (if not the rest of my career).
Besides my exploits in my career, another set of achievements that I have been very proud of are my hobbies. In 2005 I began work on a miniature representation of the Swedish warship Vasa. This project lasted until August of 2012 and has received the praise of the Director of Research at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden as the "most accurate in the world". It has been displayed at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis and Gustavus Adolphus college in St. Peter, Minnesota. Some preliminary talk has occurred on the subject of displaying it at the Vasa museum.
Because of my Vasa project, I found I could carve sculpture in wood and have completed some large pieces. Some of them include a couple of half to full scale Vasa sculputures, a sculpture of the warhorse of Gustavus Adolphus, some necklace pendants, decorative spoons and others.
I have found that I also enjoy building historic firearms. My first was a British Baker rifle, which was the first government issued military rifle in history, and used by the British army from 1800 until the late 1830's. Another that I have done is a matchlock musket that I built after one from Vasa and carved my own stock for.
All of these items can be seen on this site.
In December of 2012 my son Magnus was born (he has been a very pleasant surprise). He is very curious, and seems to be cut of the same cloth as I am.