OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Quality Assurance

Alum Travis Snapp makes sure wood products are safe and reliable - worldwide.

Forestry alum Travis Snapp attended got his Bachelor’s at Oregon State in 2009. He is now the General Manager of the Engineered Wood Products Division of Professional Service Industries in Eugene, Oregon. PSI is one of the country’s largest firms providing scientific, technical and management solutions to business and industry. Snapp recently took the time to answer a few questions about his career and Oregon State experience.

Where are you from?

All over!  My father was an Executive Vice President of International Paper Co. so we moved on average every two years.  I was born in Texas but lived in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Illinois.  Growing up we had a cabin on the McKenzie River at McKenzie Bridge, Ore. where we spent summers.  All of us fell in love with Oregon and knew we would eventually move here.

Why did you choose Oregon State? 

Oregon State had one of the best Wood Science & Engineering programs in the country.  My family has been heavily involved in the forest products industry for nearly 100 years and I always wanted to follow in those footsteps.  There is no better class of people than those who work in the industry.

What did you study here? 

Wood Science & Engineering with an emphasis in Wood Industry Management.  The business aspects of the industry are what interest me the most.

Can you give me a brief summary of your career trajectory? 

I began my career after attending Clemson University and teaching as an adjunct faculty member in South Carolina at Greenville Technical College. I moved to Bend and worked as a project manager for a hazardous materials remediation company for four years.  I enrolled at Oregon State and upon graduation took a position as Staff Engineer with PSI, Inc.  After the Vice President of the Engineered Wood Products Division resigned I was promoted to General Manager of the Engineered Wood Products Division.

What do you do now, and how do you describe that to people? 

I run a multi-national testing and certification company with clients on five continents.  If someone somewhere in the world processes a tree into a good we can generally certify it to a standard.  We certify companies in Europe for product sales in Japan as well as material produced overseas and consumed in the United States.

What kind of impact do you think your job has? What kind of impact do you hope it has?

We have two major impacts:  1. Product safety and reliability 2. Client success.  Our grade stamp is recognized by most all developed countries as being a quality certification system.  That brand recognition is key to our clients as a marketing tool.  Also we are fee- competitive.  This means we are able to offer our services and testing at a rate that impacts our clients’ sales costs for their finished products. If we charge too much our clients are not as competitive on the world market.

How do you feel the College of Forestry helped reach this point? Is there anything/anyone in particular there you can point out that was especially influential?

The program as was originally developed exposed me to multiple manufacturing processes.  Without the hands on instruction and internship requirements I would be ill prepared to assist my clients with manufacturing problems or understand how forest products are produced.

What kind of advice do you have for students who will be entering the job market? 

Decide where your interests are and concentrate in that area. If you want to be in a manufacturing environment, center your studies around engineering courses and manufacturing.  Put in the effort while you are there and you will reap the rewards.