Faces of the Forest Service

Meet Josh Wilson

August 13th, 2018 at 3:00PM

A picture of Josh Wilson holding up a large salmon with both hands.
Josh holding a prized catch. Fishing and hunting are two of Josh’s favorite hobbies. (Photo credit: Wilson family photos.)

Josh grew up in an urban area of Northern California. Even though he was raised a city boy the mountains and forests weren’t far away. In fact he was always excited to leave town and explore the great outdoors which he’d learned to appreciate and respect through his Dad, a man Josh still considers to be his best friend. His father’s advice and wisdom is something that Josh has instilled in his own family.

Josh likes to say that he was a “customer” of the USDA Forest Service before becoming an employee. Some of his fondest memories as a child and young man are hunting and fishing in Shasta Trinity National Forest. Consequently, Josh’s passion for outdoor recreation greatly influenced the career path he chose when deciding to work for the Forest Service. So when the opportunity to enter the Student Temporary Employment Program came up he was excited for the chance to professionally give back to the Forest Service which had such a profound impact on his personal life.


You have now been with the Forest Service for over a decade. What is your position now and what is your favorite part of the job?

I began my career as an Economist where I studied the impacts of Forest Service projects on local economies around the country. I now serve as a Research Program Manager, with the Agency’s Pacific Southwest Research Station where I work with scientists to inform the interactions between natural and human systems, and how to manage for enhanced ecological benefits. My favorite part of the job is collaborating with a diverse set of partners to problem solve and inform strategies to help preserve the natural characteristics of our public lands so that future generations can have the same opportunities I had.


What do you like to do for fun on your free time?

I love to be outdoors in any natural environment. This could be on a trail in town, or miles back into a wilderness area. There is nothing I’d rather be doing more than hunting or fishing with family and friends.


A picture of Josh Wilson with his wife and three young children.
Josh Wilson with his wife and children. (Photo credit: Wilson family photos.)

What is your highest personal and professional achievement?

On a personal level, I couldn’t be more proud of being a husband, and father to 3 children. My family is my pride and joy; and they influence everything I do. It is my passion to create a cleaner and healthier environment for them to thrive in. Professionally, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this years’ Senior Leader Program and learn from my colleagues how to better leverage the skills I have. In this program I’m afforded the opportunity to work with the next generation of senior leaders in the Forest Service. The professionalism and dedication to public service I have observed from the program’s cohort is an inspiration, and makes me excited about the future of the Agency.


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

I would like the work of the Forest Service to be perceived as transcendent. Our work transcends complex organizational and geographical boundaries, as well as generations, to sustain natural resources for our Nation’s existing publics and those to follow. The Forest Service adds tremendous value to both natural and economic systems. It provides clean air and water, as well as supports jobs and income across the Nation through its recreational and resource management practices. Whether they know it or not, everyone experiences benefits from Forest Service activities.


What are your future career goals?

My future career goals are to continue making a positive difference for the preservation of our nation’s natural resources and increase my sphere of influence through building positive relationships and a diverse network of partners. I don’t yet know where that will take me, but I am excited to find out.


A picture of Josh Wilson hunting with his Dad, Gary Wilson. In between both Josh and his dad are several ducks that were taken during their hunt.
Josh Wilson (left) enjoys hunting with his Dad, Gary Wilson (right). (Photo credit: Wilson family photos.)

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

My advice for future employees is to trust your instincts and stay true to your core values. The Forest Service thrives on the diversity of experience among its workforce. Rely on the diversity and skills you bring to the Agency, and respect those of your peers. Never lose sight of the mission and the resources we work to protect. And lastly, strive to learn something new every day. By fostering a learning environment, we will remain adaptable to dynamic conditions and seize opportunities to make a positive difference for the publics we serve.