Faces of the Forest Service

Meet Carlos Milan Torres

July 5th, 2018 at 3:15PM

Carlos at Big Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Milan family photos.)

Carlos Milan Torres grew up surrounded by year-round greenery in Yauco, Puerto Rico, a community known for its coffee and unique, colorful houses up in the mountains. Surrounded by natural and man-made beauty, it’s not surprising that he is an avid hobbyist photographer who enjoys hiking with his dog Chewie. Throughout his life, he has found himself naturally drawn to nature and biology and keenly interested in technology. It may be that this amalgamation of interests naturally predisposed him to combine them in his professional life.

As the information technology specialist for the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin, Carlos, among his other work activities, supports both the intranet and lab’s website. Both responsibilities are key to making the scientists’ research findings and technical reports accessible to the public. Though he has only been part of FPL since 2017, Carlos started working with the USDA Forest Service about five years ago as a science delivery specialist fellow for Research & Development (R&D) in the Washington office.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The best part of my job is how dynamic it is. Moreover, delivering content to the public is a gratifying and rewarding experience. Not only do I get to share new, fun, and exciting news about FPL’s research with the public every day, but I also get to learn about new scientific advancements in the process, so it is very difficult to get bored. 


Carlos enjoys going on walks and hikes with his dog Chewie, who he says is his best photo subject despite not being a professional model. (Photo by Carlos Milan Torres.)

How has your education, background, or personal experiences prepared you for the work that you do now?

My background in natural sciences (biology) and environmental health, along with my experience in computer science, ended up being the perfect match for my current position. Thanks to my education and background, I am well prepared to communicate via web the impressive and extensive research taking place at FPL. At the same time I can understand and appreciate the technical content I am posting, which is very gratifying.


Describe a recent, current, or upcoming project that you’re currently working on.

For a while now I’ve been part of several efforts to modernize the R&D web presence. Our main goal is to present all Forest Service research in a comprehensive, integrated, and uniform way while taking advantage of the latest technologies available to best serve our public.


Describe a professional or personal achievement that you are particularly proud of.

Being part of the Forest Service family is probably one of my biggest professional achievements. On the personal side, for two consecutive years I ran in the Army Ten Miler, the second largest ten-mile race in U.S.


Carlos began his Forest Service career as a Research & Development science delivery specialist fellow in the agency’s Washington Office. (Milan family photos.)

How would you like the public to perceive the work we do at the Forest Service?

I would like the public to know more about Forest Service research, the motivation behind it as well as the short- and long-term impacts of the findings. I want them to appreciate how important this work is in our everyday lives. I would also like them to know we do our best to share all this information so they can make use of it. I would like to show that we are delivering a good return on the investment of their taxes.


Do you have any advice for someone wanting to serve their country as a Forest Service employee?

There’s no better way to serve the public than benefitting from and protecting our national forests and grasslands while at the same time learning about them through research. Forest product research is truly the key to becoming a more sustainable society.